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Federal judge strikes down Obama-era ban on air conditioning chemical

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday struck down [opinion, PDF] an Obama-era rule that banned certain gases from being used in air conditioning and refrigeration appliances. The court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] cannot ban these chemicals under a Clean Air Act [materials] provision, Section 612(c), because it was only meant to prevent the depletion of ozone as these chemicals have not been proven to be hazardous to the earth's ozone layer.

Many environmental other groups have expressed serious concerns over Scott Pruitt's appointment as the new head of the EPA. In April Earthjustice [advocacy website] filed a motion [JURIST report] that asked the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] to order the EPA to ban a widely used pesticide after Pruitt denied a petition to prohibit its use. In February Pruitt vowed [JURIST report] to cut back EPA regulations, saying the agency's Clean Power Plan, Waters of the US rule, and the US Methane rule will all be targets under the Trump administration. Pruitt's nomination for head of the EPA was met with consternation from Democrats, who cited Pruitt's numerous lawsuits against the EPA while he was the Oklahoma Attorney General. Days before his confirmation by the Senate, Pruitt was ordered [JURIST report] by a federal judge to release thousands of emails between the Oklahoma AG office and various fossil fuel companies.

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