DENVER — An environmental group claims a delay — sought by Oklahoma's attorney general and a utility — of a plan to cut air pollution would cause premature deaths and increased heart attacks for Oklahomans.
The Sierra Club joined the Environmental Protection Agency in asking an appeals court to deny requests by Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to block the plan.
The group and EPA submitted to the court late Thursday their opposition to requests for a postponement that Pruitt and OG&E filed last month.
Pruitt and the utility want the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a stay on the pollution-
The requirement affects three power plants. Two are operated near Pawnee and Muskogee by OG&E, and one is operated near Oologah by American Electric Power-
Health danger alleged
Pruitt and OG&E asked the court in April to delay the requirement until the judges decide whether to overturn it, as requested by the attorney general and utility.
Judges are not expected to decide until late this year or early next year whether to overturn the requirement. A stay would keep it from taking effect until the court decides.
“A stay of EPA's plan would result in grave harm to public health, including premature deaths, heart attacks and asthma events,” the Sierra Club told the judges.
In reaching its conclusion, the group cited the opinion of an environmental health professor at the New York University School of Medicine.
The attorney general's staff said last month the EPA pollutant requirement “is not health related.”
Pruitt, citing utilities' data, has said the cost to OG&E could cause consumers, including industries, to pay much more for electricity and would cause a loss of jobs.
Costs vs. benefits
The old coal-
The federal agency's final rule approved most of the state's plan for reducing haze but rejected part of the plan that dealt with retro
Oklahoma authorities contend EPA's plan would be too expensive and not produce enough benefits to justify the cost.
EPA contends that state authorities, relying on OG&E figures, “greatly overestimated” the cost.
American Electric Power-