The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled the Obama administration should have considered compliance cost when it decided to limit emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants, a setback for the government that leaves the legal status of the regulation in limbo.

The court ruled in a 5-4 decision, with its five conservative justices in the majority, against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rule stays in effect for the time being, with the case returning to an appeals court, which will decide whether or not it should be thrown out.

“EPA is disappointed that the court did not uphold the rule, but this rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance,” the agency said in a statement.

The EPA “remains committed to ensuring that appropriate standards are in place to protect the public from the significant amount of toxic emissions from coal and oil-fired electric utilities and continue reducing the toxic pollution from these facilities,” the agency added.

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