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Oklahoma Attorney General Prepares Lawsuit To Fight Clean Power Plan

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state capitol after the annual State of the State address.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday officially published its controversial Clean Power Plan — meant to reduce carbon emissions from power plants — and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is already taking the first step toward challenging it in court.

A press release from Pruitt’s office says representatives from Oklahoma were at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. first thing Friday morning to ask the federal court to review the Clean Power Plan.

In the release, Pruitt says the plan “unlawfully coerces states into shuttering fossil-fuel generated electricity,” and that “Oklahoma is pursuing all available legal options to roll back” what he calls “a financially disastrous” EPA rule.

Pruitt challenging the plan is far from a surprise. Oklahoma had already joined a coalition of 15 states that tried to sue over the plan before it was published in the Federal Register. A judge ruled the effort premature at the time. Gov. Mary Fallin also ordered state agencies not to come up with a compliance plan. If Oklahoma doesn’t come up with its own compliance plan, a federal plan will be put in place.

The Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide by 2030, mainly through a transition away from coal-based power generation, toward natural gas and renewables.

Pruitt has consistently challenged EPA rules since he took office in 2011, with little success. And as StateImpact has reported, Oklahoma’s largest utility companies are already on their way to compliance with the Clean Power Plan, because of earlier EPA rules that are forcing them to move away from coal.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma.
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