"A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday issued a last-minute order to delay the January 1 implementation of stricter federal limits on pollution from coal-fired plants, providing a temporary win for utilities worried about the cost of implementation. In a blow to environmental groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a request to stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, pending further court review."
"The EPA finalized the rule in July, setting much stricter limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 27 states to protect the health of residents in states downwind from the emissions.
'The EPA firmly believes that when the court does weigh the merits of the rule it will ultimately be upheld,' the agency said in a statement after the court's decision."
Patrick Temple-West, Eileen O'Grady, Timothy Gardner report for Reuters December 30, 2011.