OGE loses appeal against EPA coal emissions regulations

OGE Energy Corp's Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) utility said it may be forced to spend $1 billion to install new emission controls on two coal-fired power plants to adhere to federal environmental regulations.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver denied OG&E's request to revisit a court decision from July regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan to reduce haze from coal-fired power plants. OG&E and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested the court rehear arguments that the EPA acted unlawfully when it imposed air emission regulations in Oklahoma, Reuters reported.

Because the court continues to back the EPA's regulations, OG&E said it would likely have to invest in emission control technologies for its two power plants: the 1,510-megawatt Muskogee plant and the 1,038-MW Sooner plant. Kathleen O'Shea, spokesperson for OG&E, said the company is weighing its options to comply with the ruling and the EPA regulations. She said it would cost about $1 billion to install scrubbers at the plants.

OG&E spokesman Paul Renfrow told Tulsa World the changes to the plant would likely cause electricity rates to rise.

"While we continue to weigh our legal options, including an appeal to the Supreme Court, the 10th Circuit's decision makes it increasingly likely that our customers will be paying higher rates on their electric bills because of the sizable investment needed to meet the regional haze requirements mandated by the EPA's plan," he said.

Information on environmental controls for coal-fired power plants can be found at PennEnergy's research area

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