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Wyoming is Defending Its Plan for Improving Visibility in National Parks

posted Apr 27, 2015, 11:16 AM by   [ updated Apr 27, 2015, 11:16 AM ]

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

September 3, 2014


Renny MacKay
Communications Director

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The State of Wyoming is defending its strong plan for improving visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. Wyoming filed its opening brief in its suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, which rejected part of Wyoming’s plan for reducing regional haze. That federal rule is related only to aesthetics and not human health.

Wyoming argued that the federal government should defer to the states and that Wyoming has met the objective of developing a plan to reduce regional haze for visibility concerns.

“The EPA approved Wyoming’s plan related to the biggest sources of haze in the parks and wilderness areas but, without good cause, denied our work on the smaller cause of visibility concerns. This is troubling because our plan requires power plants to install millions of dollars of new equipment and meets the goal laid out by Congress. The EPA’s decision is an example of federal overreach and we will continue to push back against that overreach,” Governor Matt Mead said.

The case is in the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Regional Haze rule is part of the federal Clean Air Act, which gives states “wide discretion” to meet the objectives of the law. Wyoming has met its responsibilities.

“In denying our plan the EPA would require Wyoming power plants to spend much more money for the same result. That means higher electricity bills for everyone. This has the potential to have real impacts on the coal industry and the cost of living,” Governor Mead said.

Wyoming also points out that the EPA decision for us is unique. Previously, a Court denied an appeal by the State of Oklahoma regarding that state’s plan for regional haze, but in that case Oklahoma’s plan did not require additional upgrades for power plants. Our plan does. Wyoming concludes that the Court should require the EPA to approve the State’s plan entirely for improving visibility.