Environmental Protection Agency lawyers are asking federal appeals court judges to cut off petitions to stay the agency's climate rules while setting a briefing schedule that keeps the rules in play while President Obama is in Paris negotiating a global deal on emission cuts.

"The Clean Power Plan is on legally vulnerable ground, and the agency knows it. The EPA has been slow walking the publication of the Clean Power Plan in an attempt to delay the inevitable, and now is asking the federal court to delay next steps on the rule's legal challenges until after the international climate talks in Paris," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee that oversees the EPA.

Wednesday's scheduling motion was the first formal court response by the administration after 26 states, 15 trade groups and a number of others sued the EPA over its climate rules on Friday.

EPA lawyers suggested the outpouring of broad opposition might invite chaos if its briefing schedule is not upheld by the court.

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