The State of Wyoming has spent over a decade producing a plan that is reasonable, productive, cost-effective and focused on addressing regional haze. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to partially disapprove of the state's plan will create an economic and bureaucratic nightmare that will have a devastating impact on Western economies, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who filed an amendment today to the Senate energy efficiency bill that would prevent the EPA from trampling on a state's right to address the issue locally.
"The proposal by the EPA ignores more than a decade's worth of work on this subject by my home state and seems to be more designed to regulate coal out of existence than to regulate haze," said Enzi. "The haze we most need to regulate, in fact, seems to be the one that is clouding the vision of the EPA as it promotes a plan that would impose onerous regulations on power plants that will in turn pass those increased costs, in the form of higher energy prices, on to consumers.
"My amendment is simple and straight forward. It promotes the right of each state to deal with its own problems. By preventing regulatory overreach it places the first response to the issue of regional haze where it properly belongs -- in the hands of the state officials who are more familiar with the problem and the best way to address it."
In 1977, amendments to the Clean Air Act included provisions in the law that created a regulatory program to improve visibility in National Parks and wilderness areas. The Regional Haze program put states, not the EPA, as the lead decision makers on how to address this issue. Despite states having primacy on Regional Haze, the EPA has continued to overstep its statutory authority and issue rulings in areas it does not have authority.
"The haze we most need to regulate, in fact, seems to be the one that is clouding the vision of the EPA as it promotes a plan that would impose onerous regulations on power plants that will in turn pass those increased costs, in the form of higher energy prices, on to consumers," Enzi said.
The Enzi amendment would prohibit the EPA from overriding a state's regional haze plan if:
- The state has adopted a regional implementation plan that considers the factors identified in the Clean Air Act.
- The EPA fails to demonstrate utilizing the best available science will result in a measureable improvement in the relevant areas.
- The federal plan will result in an economic cost to the state or to the private sector of greater than $100,000,000 in any fiscal year or $300,000,000 in the aggregate.