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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Attorney General to Appeal Regional Haze Decision

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  • Attorney General Scott Pruitt Wednesday announced the state’s plan to ask for a rehearing before the full Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Oklahoma’s Regional Haze case against the EPA.
     
    In July, a three-judge panel voted 2-1 in favor of the federal agency.
     
    “We strongly disagree with the judges’ decision and the basis for their findings. As Judge Kelly said in his dissenting opinion, the EPA misrepresented the facts, made assumptions and provided no factual support for its conclusions,” General Pruitt said. “Regional Haze is about aesthetics, not health, and states have a say in how the regulations are implemented. Part of that role is considering the cost to our consumers.”
     
    The Regional Haze Rule under the Clean Air Act requires agencies to work together to improve visibility at national parks and wilderness areas by 2064. Oklahoma’s industry leaders, elected officials, utility companies, consumer protection advocates and energy producers spent months creating a State Implementation Plan to address the requirements of the rule in multiple parts of the state, submitting it to the EPA in 2010. The state plan accomplished the regional haze requirements by 2026, decades before the deadline, while significantly reducing the effect on utility consumers.
     
    The EPA denied Oklahoma’s plan and instead implemented its own federal plan, without following the requirements listed in the Clean Air Act. Utility officials estimated the federal plan would increase utility rates for Oklahomans by 13 percent to 20 percent over three years.
     
    The 10th Circuit stayed implementation of the federal plan in June 2012. The three-judge panel ruled on the case July 19.
     
    “We want our wildlife areas to continue to be places where Oklahomans can enjoy the outdoors with their families and friends. Oklahoma stakeholders created a common sense plan that would accomplish that goal and improve our environment without forcing Oklahomans to pay unnecessary costs,” General Pruitt said. “The EPA exceeded its authority under the law by imposing their federal plan in Oklahoma.”
     
    Oklahoma has until Sept. 3 to file a request for rehearing.

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