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Greenhouse Gas Laws Set|to Take Effect in January

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal appeals court handed a mixed bag to industry groups and the Obama administration by coordinating cases on the regulation of greenhouse gases as pollutants, but declining to stay the new regulations from going into effect.

The Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency found in December last year that greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and the environment. Energy companies, business associations and state governments challenged the finding, filing suit against specific rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

An appeals court ruled Friday that a single panel would hear the cases against four specific rules on the same day.

Legal analysts say the arrangement favors a ruling that could toss the greenhouse gas regulations in a single go.

But the order also denied a motion to stay the rules, which means they will be implemented as planned, some as soon as Jan. 2, 2011.

Challenged regulations include the endangerment rule - the original finding that greenhouse gases threaten health and the environment - and a tailpipe rule setting higher standards for car and light-truck emissions.

Since December 2009, the EPA has passed a number of other rules specifying how greenhouse-gas emitters will be regulated, and what agencies will regulate them. In August, for example, the EPA exempted "small-sources," or emitters of less than 250 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, from regulation.

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