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Court strikes down emission-reduction rule

WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal appeals court Friday struck down a key portion of President George Bush's signature Clear Skies legislation, saying the rule was flawed.

The Clean Air Interstate Rule of the Environmental Protection Agency was designed to reduce air pollution that moves across state lines. The plan capped emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the eastern United States, which the EPA said resulted in reduction in the emissions across 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia.

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The state of North Carolina and several power companies challenged several aspects of the rule.

At issue in much of the challenge is the definition of the term "contribute significantly," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said.

"Because we find more than several fatal flaws in the rule and the Environmental Protection Agency adopted the rule as one, integral action, we vacate the rule in its entirety and remand to EPA to promulgate a rule that is consistent with this opinion," the per curiam opinion said.

Environmental Integrity Project Director Eric Schaeffer expressed dismay at the ruling.

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"The court's decision will leave millions of Americans exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution from dirty power plants while the agency goes back to the drawing board to redraft emission standards," he said.

Eliminating CAIR "makes it even more important for Congress to step in," he said.

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