By Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Friday granted a Trump administration request to put on hold a legal challenge by industry and a group of states to former President Barack Obama’s regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions mainly from coal-fired power plants, rules that the Republican president is moving to undo.
A 10-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the request to put the litigation involving the regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, in abeyance for at least 60 days while the administration plans its next steps.
The court also asked the administration and other parties to file briefs on whether the case should be sent back to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Supreme Court last year put the regulations on hold pending the outcome of the case.
In a separate order issued on Friday, the same court put on hold a case challenging another set of Obama climate regulations aimed at new power plants.
Twenty-seven states, led by coal-producer West Virginia and industry groups, challenged the Obama regulation. Other states and environmental groups backed the former administration.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sided with the previous administration’s EPA to defend the Clean Power Plan, brushed off the court’s move, saying it simply puts the litigation on hold for 60 days.
“Today’s temporary pause in the litigation does not relieve EPA of its legal obligation to limit carbon pollution from its largest source: fossil-fueled power plants,” Schneiderman said. “I will continue to fight in court to ensure EPA fulfills its legal responsibility.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who led the challenge against the rule, said Friday’s decision signaled that the court has acknowledged the change in the political landscape “and that a decision on the merits is not appropriate at this time.”
An executive order by Trump was part of…