Attorney General Pruitt Argues Oklahoma Regional Haze EPA Case at the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
DENVER – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Wednesday argued the state’s regional haze case before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The arguments come eight months after the 10th Circuit temporarily stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing its federal regional haze plan in Oklahoma.
“This is an important case for the State of Oklahoma, and I was proud to represent our citizens before the 10th Circuit. Oklahoma families don’t need to worry about skyrocketing utility costs at a time when they’re struggling to pay their bills simply because the EPA can’t follow the law,” Pruitt said. “The EPA exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act in this case and we will continue to challenge the agency’s decision in order to preserve the ability of Oklahoma stakeholders to create an Oklahoma solution.”
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 and reduced the effect on utility consumers.
The EPA denied Oklahoma’s plan and instead said it intended to implement its own federal plan. 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, following a direct appeal of the final rule by the state.
“State officials worked with state utilities to construct a plan for regional haze that allows for fuel flexibility and balances environmental protection with the need for affordable energy. EPA’s decision, on the other hand, could cost state utilities $2 billion while providing less environmental benefits than the state plan — and Oklahoma families, farmers and manufacturers would undoubtedly foot the bill,” Pruitt said. “I hope the court’s decision will reaffirm the right of Oklahoma stakeholders to make this decision for Oklahomans, and not allow a federal agency to overstep its authority.”
PHOTO CUTLINE: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
and First Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates leave
the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday after
General Pruitt argued the state's case in Oklahoma's regional haze
lawsuit against the EPA.