Oklahoma skies more clear than EPA's plan

Published: June 29, 2012
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Regarding “EPA rule to reduce regional haze” (Business, June 23): The Sierra Club's Whitney Pearson apparently hasn't spent much time in Oklahoma. Otherwise she'd take the Sierra Club's objective “to restore clean, healthy air to Oklahoma's communities” to states with a bigger problem. While I lack Gary England's credentials, it strikes me that Oklahoma winds change the state's air mass at least once a week. Thus, Oklahoma is simply a brief stopover for pollution being generated upwind from our borders.

While Pearson's concern for Oklahoma's air may invoke a chuckle, there's nothing humorous about the fact that Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. is being castigated by the same government that put OG&E in the coal business in the first place. After the Federal Power Commission managed to shut down the development of natural gas production with a couple of decades of wrongheaded regulation, it then decided that coal should be substituted for natural gas as boiler fuel. That developed into a turf battle between the FPC and the Environmental Protection Agency. The FPC prevailed, being the older and more entrenched agency at the time. Passage of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act (FUA) followed, which restricted construction of power plants using natural gas and encouraged the use of coal.

This error in judgment soon became apparent to the dimmest bulb. Congress, moving with the legendary swiftness it employs when confronted with a national emergency, managed to repeal FUA after less than a decade of intense lobbying.

Harry C. Johnson, Oklahoma City



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