EPA's Decision Could Be Costly For Oklahomans

Monday, March 7th 2011, 11:42 pm
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- A decision by the EPA could end up costing Oklahomans a lot of money. The EPA has rejected part of Oklahoma's plan to clean up the air.

OG&E officials told the Oklahoma Impact Team during an investigation last year that to make the kinds of changes the federal government proposed Monday, it could increase customer's electric bills by 20 percent.

A year ago the state presented it's plan to reduce pollution in the state, and specifically return the Wichita mountains to it's "natural state."

Monday, the Federal government said the plan wasn't good enough.

The EPA has a problem with the state's oldest coal fired power plants-- the OG&E plant near Muskogee, the OG&E Sooner plant near Ponca city and the American Electric Power/Public Service Company of Oklahoma plant northeast of Tulsa.

The EPA said the plants have three years to add SO2 scrubbers, switch to natural gas, or a combination of both.

"We're very disappointed," said OG&E spokesperson Brian Alford. "These scrubbers will be costly, well in excess of a billion dollars which will ultimately be seen on customer's electric bills."

The state had presented a plan that relied on the continued use of low-sulfur coal and increased use of natural gas or an alternative that involves half as many scrubbers.

The head of the state's Department of Environmental quality also said he is disappointed in the decision. The Oklahoma Attorney General argued the federal government has overstepped it's bounds.

"The action taken today by the EPA inappropriately usurps the state's authority to dictate our own energy and environmental policies," said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

The EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at the Metro Technology Centers, Springlake Campus, Business Conference Center, Meeting Rooms H and I, 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73111.

There will be an open house from 1p.m. to 3p.m. and public hearing from 4p.m. to 6 p.m., and again from 7p.m. to 9 p.m.

More: Beautifying State's Wildlife Refuge Could Mean Paying More for Electricity