Oklahoma has balked at accepting the EPA plan, which was unveiled last year when the agency rejected the state's proposal to limit emissions from several aging coal plants.
The state and the two utility companies affected by the ruling, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to review the decision, leading the court to issue a stay last month. PSO withdrew its objection in April when it announced plans to phase out its last two Oklahoma coal plants.
The regional haze issue is on hold until judges have a chance to review arguments from both sides.
“We continue to believe that the state of Oklahoma put forward a meaningful, appropriate plan to address regional haze; one that is much less costly for OG&E customers, and we look forward to making that case before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals later this year,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt recently testified before a congressional subcommittee about the EPA's efforts to circumvent the rule-making process on regional haze and other environmental regulations.
“This is a continuing tactic that we are aware of and are in the process of pursuing,” spokeswoman Diane Clay said Friday.
The chamber accuses the EPA of using a regulatory tool known as “sue and settle rule-making” to force states to accept the agency's plans, which are costlier to implement and increase utility costs for consumers.
Whitney Pearson, associate field organizer for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, said the chamber has its facts wrong on regional haze and Oklahoma.
“If they took the time to look at what is actually going on here in Oklahoma — we have reached a common-sense solution between AEP-PSO, the governor, EPA and the Sierra Club about how to move the state forward, clean up our air, and secure large investments in clean energy like Oklahoma's abundant wind resources,” she said.