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Circuit Puts Kibosh on Clean Air Rules

DALLAS (CN) - The D.C. Circuit granted Texas' request and ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay implementing interstate air pollution rules that were to take effect on New Year's Day.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is aimed at cutting emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. But on Friday, the D.C. Circuit granted Texas' request to stay the EPA's cross-state air pollution rule that affects power companies in 27 states.

Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, owner of TXU Energy, Luminant and Oncor, is the named plaintiff.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state sought a stay in September, to prevent the regulations from "jeopardizing the reliability of Texas' electrical grid, threatening hard-working Texans' jobs, and burdening Texas families with higher electricity prices."

"The court's decision to issue a stay of the EPA's legally flawed cross-state air pollution rule is a prudent one that now gives the court time to review the regulation and its burdensome effects on Texas," Abbott said in a statement. "The EPA relied on flawed science to advance its aggressive agenda despite the negative effect the new federal regulation would have on Texas' economy, electric grid, and Texans' access to electricity."

Abbott claimed that the EPA failed to comply with laws that require federal agencies to inform the public of rule proposals in advance so that affected parties can participate in the rulemaking process. He said the EPA included Texas in the final CSAPR regulations without providing notice.

The ruling stays the CSAPR's implementation pending a full review by the court of Texas' petition for review. The ruling also orders the parties to submit proposed briefing schedules by Jan. 17 so that the case may be heard by April.

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