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Oklahoma Becomes First US State To Defy EPA On CO2 Rules

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Paul Monies, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order directing state agencies not to come up with a plan to deal with upcoming federal rules for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Fallin said the EPA’s Clean Power Plan plan was an overreach that went beyond the agency’s legal authority.

Oklahoma will not formulate a state plan for upcoming federal rules regulating carbon dioxide from power plants under an executive order issued by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The order, issued Tuesday, sets up a legal battle with the Environmental Protection Agency, which expects to issue final rules for its Clean Power Plan this summer. EPA wants existing power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Fallin called the upcoming rules an overreach and directed the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality not to work on any state plans in response to the rules. She also asked Attorney General Scott Pruitt to issue a legal analysis of any final Clean Power Plan rules.

“The development of such a SIP (state implementation plan) involves dozens of state and private entities and thousands of hours of study and negotiations,” Fallin said in the executive order. “It is a massive undertaking and requires the commitment of untold amounts of financial and time resources.”

Since the rules were proposed last year, several state agencies have participated in planning sessions, including DEQ and the Corporation Commission. Fallin’s executive order doesn’t stop utilities from planning for the rules on their own.

Representatives from the state’s two largest electric utilities, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, said the companies share the concerns of lawmakers and other state leaders about the implementation costs and effects on grid reliability from the Clean Power Plan.

Federal plan coming?

EPA has said it will offer states a federal plan if they don’t want to come up with a state plan for compliance with the Clean Power Plan. If the rules survive a legal challenge and the state doesn’t offer a plan, utilities in Oklahoma will have no other options but to comply with a federal plan.

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