AG Pruitt Considers Next Steps in Regional Haze Lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the state’s request for a rehearing before the entire court of the state’s regional haze lawsuit, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he is considering the next steps to take, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state’s lawsuit against the EPA.
“We are disappointed with the court’s decision to not rehear this lawsuit. We are considering our next steps in the fight to protect Oklahoma’s right to pursue its own solutions to address regional haze,” General Pruitt said. “At stake is the ability of Oklahoma and other states to develop and implement state-based solutions. The EPA exceeded its authority when it denied the state’s plan to address regional haze. Oklahomans need to understand the regional haze rule is not about health, it is about visibility in a state wildlife area that Oklahoma leaders want to protect. We developed a commonsense plan to address regional haze, but as part of its anti-fossil fuel agenda, the EPA rejected the state’s plan in favor of a federal plan that will significantly raise utility rates for Oklahomans.”
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 stakeholders crafted a State Implementation Plan to address the requirements of the rule. The plan, submitted to the EPA in 2010, met the regional haze requirements by 2026 while significantly reducing the effect on utility consumers. The EPA denied Oklahoma’s plan and implemented its own federal plan, which utility officials estimated would increase rates for Oklahomans as much as 20 percent over three years.
The 10th Circuit stayed implementation of the federal plan in June 2012, granting a direct request from the state. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the federal agency in July. The dissenting judge wrote in his opinion the EPA misrepresented the facts, made assumptions and provided no factual support for its conclusion.
The Attorney General had sought a rehearing before the entire 10th Circuit.