WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday asked a U.S. appeals court to rehear a case in which a three-judge panel struck down a rule that would reduce harmful emissions from coal-burning power plants.

The EPA filed an "en banc" petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which in August ruled 2-1 to suspend the agency's cross state air pollution rule and ordered it rewritten.

The EPA rule targeted sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants, ensuring that emissions in one state do not travel downwind to increase pollution in neighboring states.

Two of the three judges ruling on the case said the EPA had exceeded its "jurisdictional limits" in interpreting the Clean Air Act and imposed "massive emission reduction requirements" on upwind states.

In its petition for the hearing by the full circuit, the EPA argued that the three-judge panel's decision was "inconsistent" with the court's previous rulings and that it did not exceed its mandate under the Clean Air Act.

"The Act assigns specific roles to EPA and the States and creates an orderly process for them, a process the panel's decision completely upends," the EPA said.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)