Coal, Emissions

Court denies OGE’s request for regional haze rehearing

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A three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request by OG&E, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers asking for the full court to review a previous decision upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional haze plan for Oklahoma.

The EPA’s plan to address emissions would call for installing scrubbers in OG&E power plants, while Oklahoma officials and agency have supported a state plan that would use low-sulfur coal and give utilities in the state the flexibility to burn less coal and more natural gas to achieve the goals of the rule.

According to OG&E, the EPA’s plan will result to higher rates for its customers, while the state plan would achieve the goals of the rule while limiting costs.

OG&E stated that while it has been challenging the federal implementation plan, it has also been studying plans to install the scrubbers on its coal-fired plants because of the time allowed for compliance in the EPA’s plan. OG&E spokesman Paul Renfrow stated in a release the utility is considering its legal options and has not ruled out an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pruitt also stated his office is considering its “next steps in the fight to protect Oklahoma’s right to pursue its own solutions to address regional haze.”

The 10th Circuit had stayed implementation of the federal plan in June 2012, but a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the EPA last summer.