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Federal court upholds Obama EPA's climate change regulations

By Ben Geman

A federal appeals court has upheld Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations, a victory for the Obama administration that’s also sure to inflame election-year political battles over the White House green agenda.

Environmentalists heralded the three-judge panel’s unanimous 82-page ruling that leaves intact EPA’s first-time regulations and authority to craft future rules to help combat global warming.

“Today’s ruling by the court confirms that EPA’s common sense solutions to address climate pollution are firmly anchored in science and law,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. “This landmark decision will help secure a healthier and more prosperous future for all Americans.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld EPA’s “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and welfare — a finding that provides the underpinning for regulation of emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources.

The court left intact EPA’s rules on carbon emissions from automobiles, and the “tailoring rule” that shields smaller stationary sources from greenhouse gas permitting that the EPA is using to target emissions from big sources like power plants.

Knocking down the tailoring rule might have created a chaotic, uncertain path ahead for emissions regulations by opening up massive numbers of businesses and other facilities to regulation.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson applauded the ruling, calling it a “strong validation” of the agency’s work on greenhouse gases

“I am pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that EPA followed both the science and the law in taking common-sense, reasonable actions to address the very real threat of climate change by limiting greenhouse gas pollution from the largest sources,” Jackson said.

Republicans who have battled EPA over the rules vowed to press forward with their efforts to reverse them through legislation.

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