The U.S. EPA on Monday asked the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the agency’s decision in December to order power plants to reduce their mercury emissions. Some environmentalists, eager for good news, rushed to cheer the move, saying it indicated that the Bush administration was going to move forward with a national standard for mercury emissions. But an EPA spokesperson said yesterday that the court request was merely a procedural move and did not represent “a definitive decision on mercury.” Indeed, the EPA motion filed with the court doesn’t defend the Clinton-era decision on mercury, but says instead that power-plant operators were premature to file suit because a mercury standard has not yet been formalized.