Coal, Emissions, Policy & Regulations

Okla. AG, OG&E ask Supreme Court to review regional haze decision

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) and Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional haze plan for the state.

A three-judge panel ruled in the decision the EPA has the authority to implement its own plan for the state to comply with the Regional Haze Rule under the Clean Air Act. Pruitt requested a rehearing before the full 10-judge panel of the Court of Appeals last September, but the court denied the request.

According to a statement from Pruitt, states have the primary authority to design and implement plans to address visibility issues in federal wildlife areas, and the EPA “exceeded its authority when it dismissed Oklahoma’s plan in favor of a federal plan that will lead to utility rate increases of as much as 20 percent.”

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 is challenging the federal implementation plan, but has also been studying plans to install scrubbers on its coal-fired plants because of the time allowed for compliance in the EPA’s plan, the utility stated in a release issued after the 10th Circuit denied a rehearing.

To read the petition, click here.

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