Appeals court backs EPA steam-plant emissions rule

A challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's rules limiting emissions from steam-generating power plants was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said on Tuesday the EPA did not violate its rule-making procedures by setting standards for particulate matter, Bloomberg reports.

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Utilities and the state of Texas challenged the particulates rule, alleging the EPA had made errors in establishing thresholds.

"Even assuming the EPA did stumble procedurally during the rulemaking for the 2009 rule, it made up for any procedural error during the rulemaking for the 2012 rule,” Circuit Judge Merrick Garland wrote for a three-judge panel. “There is no dispute that during the latter, EPA offered all interested parties an opportunity to comment on both the opacity standard and the opacity monitoring requirements.”

A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general said the office is currently reviewing the court's decision and weighing options for a possible appeal.

While a win for the EPA, the ruling is narrow and a number of other challenges by the utilities are still under appeal and not ruled out by the court.