Gov. Jack Dalrymple today urged the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its plan to take over the state's authority to regulate air quality. Dalrymple testified in support of North Dakota's regional haze plan as a better solution during a public hearing held today and Friday at the State Health Building in Bismarck.
"North Dakota has successfully designed, implemented and enforced air quality programs resulting in the state being one of only 12 states that comply with all federal ambient air quality standards," Dalrymple told EPA officials during Thursday's hearing.
The EPA should abide by the Clean Air Act which allows the state to regulate its own industries. The state has a long and proven history of operating its Clean Air Permit program, but the EPA now proposes requiring the state's coal plants and other industries to install equipment that is not proven to work and is extremely expensive. The proposed mandate would ultimately drive up consumers' energy costs and harm the state's economy, Dalrymple said.
"EPA's plan would cost 14 times more than the state plan, and it's not proven to provide any more environmental benefits. EPA's plan would unnecessarily harm electricity consumers in North Dakota and neighboring states, the utilities that provide power to these consumers, and North Dakota's entire economy," Dalrymple said. "EPA's plan frankly makes no economic or environmental sense."
North Dakota continues working to improve its air quality despite being among states with the nation's cleanest air. The state has spent four years developing a regional haze plan that would require equipment upgrades proven to reduce emissions by 60 percent and at costs substantially lower than the EPA's plan. The equipment required under the EPA plan does not even carry a manufacturer's guarantee that it will work, Dalrymple said
"For the sake of North Dakota's economic well-being and in respect to its state sovereignty, I urge EPA to respect North Dakota's process and well-reasoned Regional Haze plan," he said. "We hope common sense prevails as EPA moves forward."