NEWS: Court approves delay in Utah haze case

Sean Reilly
E&E News reporter
Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

At U.S. EPA’s request, a federal appellate court has pushed back the briefing schedule in litigation over the agency’s haze reduction plan for Utah.

The agency had sought the blanket 60-day extension last week, partly on the grounds that it is pursuing an administrative settlement to the legal challenges brought by the state of Utah and PacifiCorp. In an unsigned order yesterday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the request, noting that none of the parties to the litigation had objected.

The extension means that EPA’s next brief, which had been due Friday, must now be filed by Aug. 1, with final briefs in the case set for submission by Nov. 13. In asking for the delay, an EPA attorney had also noted that vacancies in the agency’s political leadership include positions with “direct responsibility” for the case (E&E News PM, May 24).

The regional haze reduction program, dating back to 1999 in its current form, aims to restore pristine views to 156 national parks and wilderness areas by 2064. The agency’s plan for Utah, which partially overrode the state’s proposal, requires Oregon-based PacifiCorp to eventually slash emissions of nitrogen oxides at two older coal-fired power plants in the central part of the state by almost 10,000 tons per year.

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