Supreme Court declines to hear Oklahoma’s regional haze case

OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition filed by Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asking it to review a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on regional haze. The question that the Supreme Court declined to review is whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted appropriately in rejecting Oklahoma’s plan to address visibility at national parks and wildlife areas.

The state of Wyoming filed a separate, although similar suit in March after the EPA rejected the state’s plan to reduce regional haze. The EPA and Wyoming parted company over regulation of nitrogen oxides. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement at the time that Wyoming had some of the cleanest air in the nation, and that the EPA’s plan “does not noticeably improve air visibility, compared to Wyoming’s plan, but EPA’s plan will cost far more to Wyoming businesses and rate payers.”

In the wake of the Oklahoma decision, Gov. Mead’s Communications Director Renny MacKay noted that the Supreme Court’s Oklahoma decision and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision against North Dakota last November, “Does not affect Wyoming’s challenge of the EPA’s rejection of our state’s well-reasoned plan for reducing emissions – it remains viable.”

MacKay added that the Wyoming plan focuses on fact-specific technologies and upgrades unique to Wyoming and to each particular source, so the court cases are subject to individual review.

The Regional Haze Rule pertains to visibility in national parks and wilderness areas and not to public health.

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