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Appellate court decision delays new pollution regulations for taconite plants

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A federal appeals court has put a hold on regulations aimed at reducing haze over national parks and wilderness areas from taconite plants in Minnesota and Michigan.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the Eighth District U.S. Court of Appeals has issued a stay that was sought by Cliffs Natural Resources, which operates three taconite plants in Minnesota and another operation in Michigan, and by ArecelorMittal, which runs the Minorca taconite operation in Minnesota.

The stay temporarily delays new federal regulations, the Tribune reports.

The court action puts on hold a decision in January by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to demand new pollution-control devices for taconite plants aimed at reducing pollution from taconite plants that causes haze over northern parks and wild areas.

The rules would apply to all taconite plants in Minnesota and upper Michigan and require some to install expensive new equipment to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, according to the Star Tribune.

The court action puts on hold a decision in January by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to demand new pollution-control devices for taconite plants aimed at reducing pollution from taconite plants that causes haze over northern parks and wild areas.

The new regulations would force some taconite operations to add expensive, new pollution-control equipment to curb nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxides, according to the Duluth paper.

Environmental and public-health groups, and now the EPA, say pollution not only causes haze over pristine areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, but also can cause lung ailments in people.

The order was signed Friday; it’s not clear when the case might be argued in court.

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