United States Supreme Court Upholds Clean Air Protections, Knocks Oklahoma Polluters
Washington, D.C. - The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a plan to reduce health-harming haze air pollution in Oklahoma. The Court denied a request by Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) asking for a review of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals prior decisions to uphold the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut haze pollution. For a third time, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s arguments have been rejected by the courts.
“Today’s decision means an end to the delays that have prevented Oklahomans from getting the cleaner, safer air they deserve. The highest courts in the land have affirmed and reaffirmed the need for OG&E to clean up its coal plants and have ruled against Attorney General Pruitt’s arguments three times. The decision means OG&E must stop making excuses and develop a sensible plan to clean up its polluting plants,” said Whitney Pearson, Beyond Coal organizer in Oklahoma.
Thousands of Sierra Club members and supporters in Oklahoma have taken action to support cleaning up haze and smog pollution coming from coal-fired power plants in Oklahoma. In spite of strong public support for cleaner air and cleaner energy, Attorney General Pruitt has spent taxpayer dollars to defend the interests of OG&E rather than the interests of the public. While Pruitt and OG&E have wasted time and money fighting for more air pollution, Oklahoma wind energy continues to boom and other utility companies have chosen a different path.
Pearson added, “OG&E can responsibly replace their coal plants with local clean energy solutions. Wind is at its lowest cost in history and is saving customers money and cleaning the air. Investing in this resource means investing in our rural communities and schools, creating jobs right here at home and ending OG&E’s shameful practice of sending hundreds of millions of dollars out of state every year to purchase coal from Wyoming coal barons.”
In contrast to the drawn-out legal battle waged by the Attorney General and OG&E, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) chose to gradually phase out coal use at its Northeastern coal-fired power plant in Oologah in order to reduce its haze-forming sulfur dioxide pollution. PSO also announced last year the state’s largest ever purchase of wind power, an investment which will result in more than $50 million in savings for its industrial and residential customers.
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View the Supreme Court’s ruling here.