Attorney General Scott Pruitt commented Monday on the EPA’s proposed rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.


“While the EPA says the new greenhouse gas emissions rule for existing power plants gives states flexibility, this claim is little more than lip service. Through its top-down approach, the EPA is taking away the ability of the states to design and implement plans suitable to each state’s unique circumstances,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “If the EPA is serious about providing states flexibility, the agency should use an ‘inside the fence’ approach that allows each state to set emissions standards for existing power plants by evaluating each unit’s ability to improve efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a cost-effective way. Instead, the EPA is setting an arbitrary goal and a list of suitable policies that can help them achieve those goals. The agency, which has played a historic role in helping protect our nation’s air and water quality, is now being used to pick winners and losers in the energy context.


“The EPA emissions rule is central to the President’s Climate Action Plan – a plan that has no legal basis or the force of law. It will undoubtedly lead to higher electricity rates, job losses and increased manufacturing costs as coal-fired power plants, which provide 40 percent of our baseload power, are taken offline,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “Rather than working through Congress, the President instead is choosing to rule by executive fiat in order to implement his environmental agenda. His actions undermine the rule of law and the spirit of cooperative federalism that pervades the environmental laws passed by Congress. As Oklahoma Attorney General, I will continue to review the potential impact of this misguided EPA rule and examine the options Oklahoma has to protect the citizens and industry of this state.”


Last month, Attorney General Scott Pruitt unveiled the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Plan, which provides a state-focused framework for states to set existing power plant emissions standards. The plan institutes a unit-by-unit, “inside the fence” approach to determining state emissions standards. It accounts for the practical reality that air quality impacts differ from state to state, as do costs and opportunities for carbon dioxide emission reductions. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Plan preserves state primacy and keeps resource planning in the hands of state regulators with specialized expertise and a focus on ratepayer impacts and protection of the public interest.