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    Intervention Granted for the State of Arkansas in Regional Haze Case

    August 24, 2015

    LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas has granted the State’s motion to intervene in the case, Sierra Club v. McCarthy. Arkansas sought to intervene because a Consent Decree proposed by the parties to the lawsuit would impose an arbitrary deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize a Federal Implementation Plan or approve a revised State Implementation Plan for regional haze.

    “The EPA is ignoring what is best for Arkansas in order to satisfy the interests of the Sierra Club,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Sierra Club initially brought this lawsuit, which affects Arkansas ratepayers, in a California federal court. I am pleased that the court has granted our request to intervene so that this ‘sue and settle’ case can be stopped. I am prepared to fully litigate this case to protect Arkansas utility ratepayers from increased costs.”

    In today’s order, Judge Leon Holmes wrote, “The State of Arkansas’s defense is thus based upon the fact that the statute is jointly administered by the State and the EPA as part of the ‘cooperative federalism’ mandated by the Clean Air Act. Neither Sierra Club nor the EPA argues to the contrary.”

    On April 24, Rutledge filed comments on the proposed Consent Decree submitted by the parties in Sierra Club v. McCarthy. Rutledge argued that the arbitrary deadline set in the case would likely lead to a rule that requires billions of dollars in compliance costs for very limited improvement in visibility. Rutledge also believes that the Sierra Club lacks standing in the suit, which gave rise to the settlement. On July 11, Rutledge requested intervention in the case.

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