OG&E, Oklahoma AG request rehearing over regional haze ruling

Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt have requested a rehearing before the full 10-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can impose a regional haze plan in Oklahoma.

The EPA rejected the state’s plan to reduce regional haze, and a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled the EPA lawfully exercised its authority in imposing a federally mandated plan on the state. The EPA’s rule would call for installing scrubbers in power plants to reduce emissions.

“This is among the first decisions in the country to address EPA’s review under the Clean Air Act’s regional haze provisions,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said. “The majority opinion gives the EPA the ability to replace the State of Oklahoma’s decision with its own.”

According to OG&E, state officials and agencies have supported the state plan that would use low sulfur coal and gives utilities in the state flexibility of burning less coal and more natural gas in order to achieve the goals of the regional haze rule.

Pruitt had previously announced he would ask for a rehearing on the decision by the three-judge panel, adding the state’s plan would have significantly reduced costs for utility customers in the state.

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