Rutledge Statement on EPA Regional Haze Stay
March 7, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to grant a stay of a costly portion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for regional haze.
“The Federal Implementation Plan would have cost Arkansans greatly,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This decision by the court has protected residents from a one-size-fits-all approach that would have passed massive costs onto consumers. During the Obama Administration, the EPA ignored the visibility improvements already made by the State of Arkansas – today’s stay is a big win for Arkansas’s job creators and consumers.”
In January, an Arkansas State Implementation Plan partially replaced the FIP. Under the stay just issued by the Eighth Circuit, remaining portions of the FIP regulations have been frozen, giving the EPA an opportunity to fully review and approve additional regional haze standards submitted to the federal regulators by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
Rutledge filed litigation in November 2016 against the EPA’s federal plan. Instead of working with the State, the EPA published its proposed FIP for Arkansas in April 2015 and solicited feedback. Attorney General Rutledge, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and a number of industries, institutions and facilities impacted by the proposed plan provided comments during this time. Despite the comments urging the EPA to withdraw the plan, the final plan was signed in August 2016. Approval of the new State Implementation Plan replaces the overreaching 2016 FIP.