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Court delays challenge to Obama carbon rule

Court delays challenge to Obama carbon rule

A federal appeals court is delaying the schedule for a lawsuit challenging a White House regulation that limis carbon dioxide emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule being challenged sets limits for newly constructed coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. It is separate from the Clean Power Plan, which applies to existing plants and is also being challenged in court.

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The delay of the briefing schedule by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit means attorneys may not finish submitted briefs on the case until President Obama is out of office.

The appeals court implemented the delay Friday at the request of the states and energy interests who filed the case, led by North Dakota and the Utility Air Regulatory Group.

They argued that after the EPA in May denied a set of petitions to reconsider the regulation — most from parties to the lawsuit — those petitioners should be given time to file lawsuits, and the court should decide whether those lawsuits should be combined with the initial one.

The litigants have until July 5 to file appeals of the denials, and until July 12 to ask the court to consolidate them. At that point, the court may consider setting a briefing schedule.

The Obama administration opposed the motion to delay the case.

Both the new plant rule and the Clean Power Plan were made final in August 2015. The Supreme Court put the Clean Power Plan on hold earlier this year while it is litigated.

The rule for existing plants is based on a section of the Clean Air Act that requires regulators also write a rule for new plants. If the new plant rule is struck down, the existing plant rule cannot be enforced.