In a last-minute slap at President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court struck down one of his administration’s most momentous climate rollbacks on Tuesday, saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants.
The Trump administration rule was based on a “mistaken reading of the Clean Air Act,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency “fundamentally has misconceived the law.” The decision is likely to give the incoming Biden administration a freer hand to regulate emissions from power plants, one of the major sources of climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions.
EPA spokeswoman Molly Block called the agency’s handling of the rule change “well-supported.” The court decision “risks injecting more uncertainty at a time when the nation needs regulatory stability,” she said.
Environmental groups celebrated the ruling by a three-member panel of the Court of Appeals.
“Today’s decision is the perfect Inauguration Day present for America,” said Ben Levitan, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups that had challenged the Trump rule in court. [Continue reading…]