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Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Wyoming Plan to Control SO2

posted Apr 28, 2015, 7:00 AM by   [ updated Apr 28, 2015, 7:01 AM ]

State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

October 21, 2014


Michelle Panos
Communications Director

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld Wyoming’s plan for controlling emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) under the Clean Air Act’s regional haze program. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians, challenged the EPA’s approval of Wyoming’s plan on the ground that the plan failed to guarantee progress toward the goal of natural visibility conditions in national parks and wilderness areas.

In a unanimous three-judge opinion, the Court of Appeals agreed with Wyoming and the EPA that Wyoming’s plan fulfills the requirements of the regional haze program. The Court found that many of the environmental groups’ arguments were wrong as a matter of law and denied their remaining claims as untimely. The court instead adopted arguments Wyoming presented in defense of its plan.

Governor Mead applauded the Court’s decision.

“Wyoming’s plan has already proven successful, resulting in substantial reductions of SO2 emissions and helping to protect Wyoming’s pristine natural vistas. This decision validates Wyoming’s hard work to appropriately balance visibility and costly emission controls,” Governor Mead said.

Still pending before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is Wyoming’s challenge to the EPA’s partial disapproval of the State’s related plan for reducing emissions of haze-causing nitrogen dioxide (NOx). Last month, the Court granted Wyoming’s request to stay the EPA’s disapproval while the Court reviews Wyoming’s appeal. This means Wyoming’s current plan to mitigate (NOx) will continue during the appeal. A final decision in the case likely will not come until late 2015 or early 2016.