Trump administration halts Utah clean-air plan 🔓

A federal appeals court has approved the Trump administration’s request to halt a plan for new pollution-control equipment at two Utah coal-fired power plants that had been ordered to reduce haze at two national parks.

That is a reversal for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which unveiled the rule last year under President Obama and defended its plan in a lawsuit filed by the state of Utah and Rocky Mountain Power, Kallanish Energy reports.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to halt the lawsuit while his agency reviewed the federal plan to install new equipment to curtail nitrogen oxide emissions. The appeals court approved Pruitt’s request Monday.

Utah has its own plan to reduce haze and wants that to be considered. The federal plan ran into strong local opposition. Rocky Mountain Power said it supports the state’s plan.

The utility said the federal plan it opposed would have cost roughly $700 million to reduce emissions from the two plants in Emory County, near Arches and Canyonlands national parks in southeast Utah.

Environmentalists blasted the move as another sign of environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. The action was not a surprise because Pruitt has publicly said that the EPA was reconsidering the plan.

National Park Service officials had testified earlier the two parks have haze 80% of the time.