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Federal Court Rules Against EPA Downwind Pollution Rule

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Cathy Haglund (http://www.flickr.com/photos/haglundc/3946685535/)

A federal appeals court has overturned a federal regulation clamping down on power plant pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states.

The regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency was intended to reduce downwind pollution from power plants. But several large power companies and states, including Virginia, sued to stop it.

In a 2-1 decision yesterday, a panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. said the rule exceeded the agency's statutory authority. The court faulted the EPA for imposing what it called "massive emissions reduction requirements" on upwind states without regard to limits imposed by law.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement he's pleased to see the court has put a stop to what he called the egregious regulatory overreach from the EPA.

This ruling follows a June 26 decision from a different panel of judges in the appeals court upholding other EPA's regulations aimed at reducing the gases blamed for global warming. Virginia was among plaintiffs in that case as well.

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