The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted an emergency request by Texas officials to stay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to take over greenhouse gas permitting responsibility from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Jan. 2.

The administrative stay is intended to give the court enough timeto consider the merits of the emergency motion for a stay. The judges directed EPA to respond to Texas’ request by Jan. 6. Texas officials have until Jan. 7 to file any reply to EPA’s response.

EPA told Texas environmental regulators in late December that it planned to assume responsibility for greenhouse gas-related permitting in the state on January 2. EPA said the commission’s failure to prepare for the program left it with no choice but to plan at least a temporary federal takeover of that part of the commission’s regulatory program.

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