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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Oklahoma appeal on EPA rule

Without comment, U.S. Supreme Court justices let stand a ruling that will require an Oklahoma utility to reduce emissions that affect national parks and wilderness areas.
by Chris Casteel Modified: May 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm •  Published: May 28, 2014

— The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a decision that could mean costly changes at two Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. power plants to increase visibility at federal parks.

Without comment, justices declined to review a case in which OG&E and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt unsuccessfully challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan for reducing regional haze. North Dakota’s appeal of a regional haze ruling was also rejected Tuesday by the high court.

OG&E warned last year that the EPA’s plan could require an investment of more than $1 billion to reduce emissions at coal units in Red Rock and Muskogee. OG&E spokesman Paul Renfrow said Tuesday that the utility would announce soon how it will comply with the EPA mandates.

“We are disappointed on behalf of our customers,” Renfrow said.

“We still believe that the Oklahoma State Implementation Plan would have enabled us to meet the Regional Haze requirements at a much lower cost. However, we accept the court’s ruling and now turn our attention to meeting the 55-month compliance deadline.”

The difference?

The Oklahoma plan called for the use of low-sulfur coal, but the EPA wants the utility to install scrubbers at their coal-fired plants to reduce pollution.

Whitney Pearson, with the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club, said the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case “means an end to the delays that have prevented Oklahomans from getting the cleaner, safer air they deserve.

“The highest courts in the land have affirmed and reaffirmed the need for OG&E to clean up its coal plants and have ruled against Attorney General Pruitt’s arguments three times,” Pearson said.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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