Inhofe wants EPA haze pollution hearing held in Tulsa
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Thursday, March 17, 2011
3/19/11 at 9:59 AM
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a critic of a federal agency's action on regional haze pollution, asked Thursday for a hearing on the contentious matter to be held in Tulsa.
"This is a matter which has received the attention of leaders throughout the state, and I believe an additional public hearing in Tulsa is necessary," the Oklahoma Republican said in a letter to Al Armendariz, regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Previously, EPA announced an April 13 hearing in Oklahoma City.
In his letter, Inhofe wrote of his concern about EPA's denial of Oklahoma's proposal on regional haze, adding the agency's action could impose costs of nearly $2 billion on Oklahoma's utilities.
He accused the EPA of assuming the state's role under the Clean Air Act, warning its approach would result in higher utility rates for Oklahoma consumers and less flexibility for utilities.
Announced earlier month, EPA's proposal would require three of Oklahoma's oldest coal-fired power plants to switch to cleaner-burning natural gas or install technology to reduce regional haze pollution.
Those plants are operated by American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma northeast of Tulsa in Oologah and Oklahoma Gas & Electric near Muskogee and in north-central Oklahoma.
In its announcement, EPA said its actions were necessary to meet regional haze requirements under current law.
Oklahoma's plan, it stated, did not address those requirements adequately.
Armendariz said the change would address sulfur pollution from the plants to improve air quality for generations to come.