A federal appeals court ordered the EPA yesterday to put on hold a regulation that would require 22 states to reduce their production of smog-causing gases that drift into other states. The three-judge panel issuing the decision did not question the merit of the regulation, but delayed its implementation pending a lawsuit filed by a number of Midwest states and utilities that operate dirty coal-burning power plants. Two of the judges on the panel were also on the three-judge panel that overturned separate EPA air quality standards on May 14. The EPA dismissed the latest ruling as a “procedural delay.”