Supreme Court won’t review EPA haze cases

 

The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected an appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) haze reduction programs for Oklahoma and North Dakota, leaving intact lower court rulings that found in the EPA’s favor.

The Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit found last year that the EPA acted within its legal authority when it rejected Oklahoma’s plan to reduce its regional haze and improve visibility in its national parks and wilderness areas. The EPA mandated its own plan that was estimated to cost at least $1 billion more, mostly on the backs of power plants and factories.

The Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit reached a similar conclusion on North Dakota’s plan.

The Supreme Court does not give justifications for its decisions to reject cases.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Oklahoma Gas and Electric brought their state's case to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, Pruitt said the Supreme Court’s action lets a bad legal precedent stand.

“It’s also disappointing for the state, our partners in the lawsuit and most importantly for the ratepayers of Oklahoma,” Pruitt said. “The EPA acted in a manner inconsistent with the law and imposed a federal implementation plan on Oklahoma as part of the administration’s war on fossil fuels.”

The lower rulings concluded that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to oversee state haze plans, and the agency was within its authority to reject the state plans and impose its own.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia welcomed the court’s decisions.

“It affirms that EPA has an important role to play in ensuring that states do what they’re required to do under the Clean Air Act,” Purchia said.