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Published July 14, 2008 09:26 AM

US Court Slaps Down Pollution Law

by Jeff Tollefson

A US appeals court struck down landmark air-pollution regulations on Friday, shocking both environmental and industry groups with a decision that could severely hamper efforts to curb smog and acid rain.

The ruling, which one environmentalist called "the legal equivalent of a dirty bomb," threatened to overshadow a separate decision Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay potential regulations for carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

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Though many had expected the carbon dioxide non-decision, environmentalists were blindsided by the court's decision to throw out the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a programme designed to reduce East Coast air pollution by cleaning up coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.

"It is without a doubt the worst news of the year when it comes to air pollution," says Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an environmental group based in Washington DC.

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