U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear OG&E's Regional Haze case

Company expresses disappointment with decision

PR Newswire

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a petition filed by Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asking the nation's highest court 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.

Last July, a split, three-member panel of the 10th Circuit ruled that the EPA lawfully exercised its authority to reject Oklahoma's state plan and instead impose a federally mandated plan on Oklahoma. OG&E and the Attorney General filed a joint appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in January.

"We are disappointed on behalf of our customers," said OG&E spokesman Paul Renfrow. "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."  

OG&E previously estimated that compliance with the EPA's plan would require an investment of more than $1 billion. Renfrow added that the company would soon announce how it would comply with the EPA's mandates. 

In the past, the Governor's office, state Attorney General, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and other state leaders voiced opposition to the EPA plan saying that the state developed a plan that would be equally effective and cost far less.

"We would like to express our appreciation to our state leaders and others for their efforts," Renfrow said.  "We want to extend a special note of appreciation to Attorney General Pruitt for his tireless advocacy on behalf of Oklahoma's right to determine its own course to meet these new EPA requirements."

The Oklahoma plan had called for use of low-sulfur coal and gave affected utilities in the state the flexibility of achieving the visibility improvement goals of the Regional Haze rule in a more cost-effective way. The Regional Haze Rule pertains to visibility in national parks and wilderness areas and not to public health.

OG&E is a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp. (OGE), and serves more than 807,000 customers in a service territory spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

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