The NYTimes reports from Washington on two separate actions on Friday that, between them, have halted Bush administration clean-air initiatives in their tracks. The current administration is no favorite of environmental groups, but these groups sided with the administration in a court case brought by the utility companies. On Friday an appeals court threw out the EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule, established in 2005. The court ruled that the EPA had exceeded its authority when it established that rule, which set new requirements for major pollutants. According to the article, even the utilities were appalled to see the rule completely gutted; their objections had been narrower. Here is a podcast with the reporter (MP3) giving some background on the ruling. The second major blow to clean-air efforts came later in the day on Friday. Quoting: "...the EPA chief rejected any obligation to regulate heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide under existing law, saying that to do so would involve an 'unprecedented expansion' of the agency's authority that would have 'a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy,' touching 'every household in the land.'... In effect, Mr. Johnson was simultaneously publishing the policy analysis of his scientific and legal experts and repudiating its conclusions."