A decision last week by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was disappointing, and not simply because it ultimately could result in higher electric bills for customers of Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co.
The full court on Thursday denied OG&E's (and the state's) appeal of a ruling this summer by a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit. In that 2-1 ruling, judges said the federal Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to reject Oklahoma's pollution-control plan for dealing with sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, and that the EPA could impose a more stringent and far more costly plan.
The case stems from the EPA's determination in 2010 that visibility at wildlife refuges in Oklahoma showed the presence of pollution, or “regional haze,” from coal-fired power plants. The state produced a plan to reduce those emissions; the EPA said it wasn't adequate — no surprise, given that the Obama administration is intent on putting coal out of business.
That goal is shared by the Sierra Club and other groups that were allowed to intervene. Coal is first on their list. Natural gas is next. If it's a fossil fuel, it's a target.