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Court Backtracks On Order Forcing Trump’s EPA To Enforce Obama-Era Rule


by Chris White

A federal court back-peddled Tuesday night after business groups criticized a previous order forcing the EPA to enforce an Obama-era rule designed to regulate chemical plants.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an original ruling on Aug. 31 after activists asked the judges to skip the traditional 52-day waiting period to enforce their Aug. 31 ruling, which held that the Trump administration improperly delayed the regulation.

The judges reversed the order, saying it had been made “inadvertently.” The decision will now take place Oct. 8. Judges Judith Rogers and Robert Wilkins did not further explain their reasoning. They asked the legal teams to submit briefs on whether to immediately enforce the decision.

Environmentalists and attorneys general involved in the litigation wanted the court to skip the wait period based on what they call the immediate danger associated with holding up the rule.

“Petitioners and the public have a strong interest in the court’s mandate issuing promptly, due to the serious and irreparable harm and imminent threats to public health and safety that EPA’s Delay Rule is causing,” they wrote.

The Trump administration delayed implementing it while it reconsidered major aspects of the rule, which was initially due to take effect in March 2017. The EPA proposed a complete rollback of the rule but that has not been made final.

The Aug. 31 ruling came after the U.S. District Court in South Carolina ordered in Aug. 16 the EPA to reinstate the Waters of the United States rule after the agency tried to delay it under former Administrator Scott Pruitt.

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