Governor Matt Mead told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Wyoming should have primacy in regulating regional haze. In a letter commenting on the EPA's disapproval of part of Wyoming's State Implementation Plan (SIP), Governor Mead said that the federal plan would be more costly and without any apparent benefit over the state plan.
The EPA's Regional Haze Rule is intended to restore viewsheds in national parks, national forests and wilderness areas to their natural states by 2064. The Rule is not aimed at improving human health. The Rule, part of the Clean Air Act, intends for states to have the regulatory lead. EPA's disapproval of part of Wyoming's SIP would result in extra supplemental controls on seven electric generating units with no perceptible improvement in visibility.
"In Wyoming, smoke from wildfire is the greatest haze-producing event. Fires -- especially in light of beetle-killed forests and drought-stricken brush are inevitable," Governor Mead wrote. The Governor points out that attempts to reduce man-made impacts on visibility will have little impact, but still Wyoming presented reasonable assurances in its SIP that there will be progress in reducing haze from industrial sources, "I ask that the proposed rule be rejected. The increased capital cost to the combined Wyoming units will cost $77 million more under the federal plan than under the state's plan," Governor Mead wrote, noting that these costs will be passed on to Wyoming rate payers.