The federal appeals court in Washington, DC, has rejected a request by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and other industry groups to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations on Jan. 2.

“Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Dec. 10. “Specifically with regard to each of the challenged rules, petitioners have not shown that the harms they allege are ‘certain,’ rather than speculative, or that the ‘alleged harms’ will directly result from the actions which the movants seek to enjoin.”

The court decision was a major victory for the Obama administration and environmentalists and a blow to the oil and natural gas industry and other potentially affected companies, such as electric utilities.

“We will continue our efforts to stop the EPA from pursuing its job-destroying agenda. We are confident that the merits of the litigation are strong, and we will move forward aggressively,” said Quentin Riegel, NAM deputy chief counsel.

“Manufacturers are disappointed in the court’s decision…to deny our motion of stay against EPA. We continue to believe that our arguments presented a compelling case for an issuance of stay.”

“This is a victory for every American who wants better gas mileage and cleaner cars and factories. It means cleaner air, a stronger economy and a healthier future for us all,” said David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The decision turns back efforts by the state of Texas and some industries that sought to block the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions and other GHG emissions, he said.

This is just one step in the legal process as the court’s ruling addressed only the issue of irreparable harm, not the merits of the argument, Riegel said. The court did accept NAM’s recommendation for a single panel to hear the cases. The court asked the parties to propose a format for proceeding with the merits of the case by Jan. 3, 2011.

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