AG to appeal lawsuit ruling
File - In this July 16, 2013 file photo, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City. On Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, Pruitt told a congressional committee in Washington that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state's regional haze lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) Photo: Image by AP
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state's lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules regarding regional haze, state Attorney General Scott Pruitt told a congressional committee in Washington on Thursday.
Pruitt testified before a House subcommittee on energy and power that is overseeing EPA's proposed new greenhouse gas rules that affect electricity generation.
"At stake is the ability of Oklahoma and other states to develop and implement state-based solutions. The EPA exceeded its authority when it denied the state's plan to address regional haze," Pruitt said.
"Oklahomans need to understand the regional haze rule is not about health, it is about visibility in a state wildlife area that Oklahoma leaders want to protect," he testified.
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 in July to reject the challenge to EPA's regional haze rule mounted by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. The court's majority opinion stated that the EPA has the authority to implement its own plan to limit sulfur dioxide emissions.
The full court in October denied Pruitt's request for a new hearing on the lawsuit.
The OG&E lawsuit alleged the EPA plan is more stringent than a plan developed by the state and that implementing it would usurp state authority.
Utility officials have said the federal plan will lead to an increase in utility rates for customers by 13 percent to 20 percent over three years.
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