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Citing global warming, Georgia judge blocks coal plant

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AP Photo/The Daily Tribune News, Dayton P. Strickland/FILE

(Read caption) Georgia Power's Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Ga., about 40 miles northwest of Atlanta. On Monday, a Superior Court judge blocked the construction of a coal plant near Columbus, Ga.

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In what is thought to be an unprecedented ruling, a Superior Court judge in Fulton County, Ga., halted the construction of a coal-fired power plant, saying that the plant must limit its emissions of carbon dioxide.

Citing an April 2007 US Supreme Court ruling that recognizes carbon dioxide – the primary gas responsible for global warming – as a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act, Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore overturned a lower court's decision to issue an air-pollution permit to Dynegy's Longleaf power plant near Columbus, Ga. Her decision is believed to be the first one that links global warming to an air-pollution permit.

The case had been brought by the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chattahoochee, a local environmental group. They were represented by GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based public-interest law firm.

The coal-fired power plant – the first proposed in Georgia in 20 years – cannot begin construction until it can obtain a valid permit that complies with the court's ruling.

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