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10th Circuit upholds Wyoming’s Regional Haze plan, rejects EPA proposal


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI) – Wyoming had a key court victory this week.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Federal Court issued an opinion validating Wyoming’s State Implementation Plan regarding emissions from the Wyodak power plant near Gillette, Wyoming.

The Court also upheld EPA’s decision to approve the State Implementation Plan for Naughton Units 1 and 2, located near Kemmerer. 

In 2011, Wyoming submitted its State Implementation Plan, establishing the process by which it would operate to meet the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Goals. The Regional Haze program requires the reduction of emissions that could impair the visibility surrounding national parks and monuments. In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected part of Wyoming’s plan and inserted its own Federal Implementation Plan requiring a different technological approach than the one approved by Wyoming. In its ruling, the Court indicated that EPA violated the Clean Air Act because EPA treated its own non-binding guidelines as mandatory. Wyoming’s plan achieved the statutory goals at less cost than the federal plan, thereby lessening the cost to ratepayers. The EPA cannot just insert its Federal Implementation Plan over the state plan, nor did it give the state’s plan its due deference. 

“It is gratifying that the Court recognized this example of Federal overreach into what is the rightful domain of the State of Wyoming,” Governor Mark Gordon said. “Just because the Federal government may think it knows best, that doesn’t mean it can trample on the state’s rights. I hope the Federal government takes a serious look at what this decision means in terms of state primacy.” 

Article Topic Follows: Wyoming

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