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Bush administration asks federal appeals court to rehear mercury emissions case

[JURIST] The Bush administration has filed an appeal of a ruling [PDF text] by a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit invalidating new less-stringent mercury emissions rules issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website]. In February, the panel ruled [JURIST report] that the "cap-and-trade" policy, to be implemented in 2010 by the EPA to regulate electrical power plant mercury emissions, is effectively invalid. The policy would permit power plants whose mercury emissions exceed the regulatory cap to buy "credits" from other power plants whose emissions fall below the cap. The ruling also struck down the EPA's decision to remove coal- and oil-fueled power plants from the list of utilities subject to the strictest emissions controls. In a Monday filing, the Bush administration asked for an en banc review by the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website]. AP has more.

The original lawsuit [JURIST report] was brought by a coalition of 16 states that argued that the mercury pollution rules would endanger children living near power plants that buy credits to pollute over the EPA limit. The EPA argued that its Clean Air Mercury Rule [EPA backgrounder; JURIST report] would result in a more than 70 percent reduction in mercury emissions from utilities.

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