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Oklahoma Attorney General asks to delay hearing into PSO plan for regional haze

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said more information is needed about future electricity demand at Public Service Co. of Oklahoma before a compliance plan to deal with regional haze is decided by state environmental officials. A public hearing into the plan will go ahead Monday.
by Paul Monies Published: May 18, 2013
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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked the state's environmental agency to delay a hearing Monday on a new plan by Tulsa-based utility Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to deal with regional haze.

But Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality officials said the hearing will proceed as planned at 1 p.m. Monday in Oklahoma City.

Pruitt sent a letter to the department on Wednesday outlining his concerns over a revised state implementation plan for limiting power plant emissions affecting visibility at federal parks and wilderness areas.

In his letter, Pruitt said new information about PSO's future power requirements could affect cost estimates for its revised implementation plan for regional haze. PSO wants to phase out the last two coal units at its Northeastern Station plant by 2026.

PSO earlier estimated the plan would cost more than $350 million and increase customer rates by at least 11 percent starting in 2016. A group of large industrial consumers estimates PSO's plan could cost as much as six times more than a federal implementation plan for regional haze.

The utility has more than 530,000 electricity customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma.

The Department of Environmental Quality has been taking public comments on PSO's revised regional haze plan since the hearing was announced April 18. The comment period will close at 3 p.m. Monday.

The plan came out of a settlement reached last year by PSO, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Sierra Club and Oklahoma Environment Secretary Gary Sherrer.

Waiting no longer

The attorney general's office was expecting more information from PSO about its future demand growth and waited until Wednesday to send the letter urging a delay, said Pruitt spokeswoman Diane Clay.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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We decided we could no longer wait for PSO to file the plan and wrote a letter to express our office's concerns about the lack of information, which could negatively affect utility consumers.”

Diane Clay,
Spokeswoman for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

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