The US is experiencing record-setting high temperatures this year, with the lower 48 states hitting an average 49.2 degrees Fahrenheit, five degrees above long-term statistics, according to federal data released Thursday.
The exceptionally warm months between January and May have helped to make the last 12 months the warmest 12-month block since record keeping began more than a century ago.
The month of May, meanwhile, was the second warmest May on record, with the lower 48 states reporting an average temperature of 64.3 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Reports of record-setting temperatures, which often revive debate over climate change and national energy policies, coincide with efforts by industry groups to overturn rules that curb greenhouse gases and other power plant emissions.
Industry groups have filed legal challenges against a landmark finding in 2010, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, that greenhouse gases could be regulated by the federal government under existing laws. That finding got the ball rolling on a rule that seeks to limit carbon dioxide from refiners, power plants and other large industrial facilities.
Industry groups have also challenged an EPA rule that tries to reduce power plant emissions because of the ability of those emissions to drift from one state to another.
Decisions in those cases, filed with the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, should be released shortly.
Read more: The Wall Street Journal
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