April 14, 2011
Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-5642
Inhofe Welcomes Local Hearings on EPA's Rejection of Oklahoma Haze Plan
Proposes Legislative Fix, Will Consider Input Gathered from Hearings
Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released draft legislation to address concerns raised by Oklahomans about the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to reject Oklahoma's reasonable and affordable plan to reduce regional haze and improve visibility in national parks in favor of more costly federal regulations. This decision could result in higher monthly electricity bills for Oklahomans, without any additional environmental benefits.
"I applaud the Environmental Protection Agency for convening hearings in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this week on its rejection of Oklahoma's regional haze plan. EPA's decision could cost state utilities $2 billion, and Oklahoma families, farmers and manufacturers would undoubtedly foot the bill.
"Today I am releasing draft legislation that will provide a solution for Oklahoma and other states dealing with the same regulatory concerns. My bill will ensure that policies to reduce regional haze and improve visibility in national parks, which affect local families, farmers, and businesses, are made by local governments to the greatest extent possible. Importantly, the discussion draft will only affect the federal-state relationship on visibility regulations; it will not affect any regulations directly related to public health.
"I have released a ‘discussion draft' so that I can consider the comments delivered at the public hearings, and incorporate those comments into the legislation accordingly. I look forward to working with Oklahomans to ensure that the state's concerns are heard in Washington, D.C.
"The bottom line is that states can achieve affordable energy while continuing progress on reducing emissions - and they can do it without an EPA takeover. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to empower states and rein in the EPA bureaucracy."