Scenic America, Inc. v. US DOT, No. 14-5195 (D.C. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Scenic filed suit challenging a guidance memorandum issued by the FHWA in 2007, which interpreted the prohibition on “flashing, intermittent or moving” lights to permit state approval of those digital billboards that met certain timing and brightness requirements. The Highway Beautification Act (HBA), 23 U.S.C. 131, requires the FHWA and each state to develop and implement individual federal-state agreements (FSAs), detailing, among other things, “size, lighting and spacing” standards for the billboards now found towering over many of our country’s interstate highways. The court held that it lacks jurisdiction to hear Scenic's notice-and-comment claim because Scenic failed to demonstrate that it has standing to bring that challenge. The court concluded that Scenic has standing to bring a claim under section 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 706, and that the Guidance constitutes final agency action. On the merits, the court concluded that, because the FHWA’s interpretation of the FSA lighting provision was reasonable, the interpretation cannot be “contrary to customary use.” Accordingly, Scenic's claim under section 706 fails. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for dismissal of Scenic's notice-and-comment claim.