OKLAHOMA CITY (Mar. 1, 2016) – An Oklahoma bill that would prohibit the state from complying with some EPA regulations unanimously passed out of an important Senate committee last week. If the bill becomes law, it would likely nullifying such regulations in effect.

Sen. Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) introduced Senate Bill 1379 (SB1379) on Feb. 1. The legislation would prohibit the state from developing a plan to implement federal CO2 emissions unless directed by a court, or the attorney general, along with the governor.

“The Department of Environmental Quality and the Board of Environmental Quality are hereby prohibited from developing or adopting a State Implementation Plan (SIP) relating to the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation sources under Section 111(d) of the Federal Clean Air Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Power Plan rules, unless such action is determined to be required by the Attorney General of Oklahoma or a court of competent jurisdiction in addition to written authority by the Governor.”

The Senate Energy Committee approved the measure by a 10-0 vote.

While passage of SB1379 would not guarantee Oklahoma would reject EPA mandates relating to carbon dioxide, it would make it much less likely. The AG would have to make some kind of sound legal justification for developing a compliance plan, and the governor would have to concur. This would seem unlikely in Oklahoma.

With the federal courts putting a “pause” on federal implementation of some of the Clean Power Plan, SB1379 represents a good first step toward fully blocking unconstitutional EPA Clean Power Plan mandates. Passage would begin to place the process back in the hands of the state, thus diminishing the power of the federal agency.

A motion was adopted to have the “title stricken” from the bill. Striking the title is a common procedural maneuver literally removing the title from the bill causing the legislation to become out of compliance with the state constitution. This allows a bill to move forward while still recognizing it will need further changes before final approval.

SB1379 is now available for debate and vote in the full Senate.

Mike Maharrey

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