Today Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced that the State of Oklahoma has reached an agreement with Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and the Environmental Protection Agency that settles compliance challenges with federal air quality rules relating to PSO's two coal-fired power plants at its Northeastern Station in Oologah, OK.
In May, the Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit against the EPA to allow more time for Oklahoma stakeholders to craft a state solution.
The Oklahoma-based agreement, which has now been reached, permits PSO to comply with EPA rules, including the Regional Haze Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, while simultaneously protecting Oklahoma consumers and ratepayers. Under the settlement agreement, PSO agrees to meet specified emission rates at both Northeastern coal units, retire one unit in 2017, install certain emissions control equipment on one Northeastern unit in 2015, and retire the second unit in 2025 or 2026.
"I am pleased that the parties could come to an agreement that is in Oklahoma's best interest," said Governor Fallin. "This agreement provides much needed certainty for PSO and its utility customers, ensures manageable and acceptable costs to consumers, transitions PSO's fleet to be cleaner and more efficient, and provides real environmental benefits for all Oklahomans."
"I want to thank Secretary of Environment Gary Sherrer and Secretary of Energy Michael Ming, whose leadership was instrumental in achieving this agreement. My thanks go out also to PSO and both state and federal officials who helped to make this possible," added Fallin.
Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment Gary Sherrer praised the cooperative effort.
"It is always more positive when the federal government can work cooperatively with the state government and local companies. In this case, we've been able to develop a common sense solution with PSO that is in the best interests of all involved. I hope this agreement can serve as a model for others to use, as well as improve Oklahoma's environment and provide certainty to ratepayers," said Sherrer.
Oklahoma Secretary of Energy Michael Ming said the settlement agreement would avoid costly litigation while protecting consumers.
"The proposed settlement provides much needed certainty, manageable and acceptable costs to customers, and greatly reduced emissions in addition to leveraging Oklahoma resources," said Ming. "This agreement avoids costly and uncertain litigation and mitigating risks to consumers, all while improving the environment with an Oklahoma solution."
The parties to the agreement will work together to develop definitive settlement documents in the next 30-60 days, and the agreement will then be subject to public review and comment. Any necessary approvals will be filed at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.