Washington, D.C.-Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter last Friday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Water Docket expressing concerns that EPA's implementation of section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act will have negative repercussions on Oklahoma's electric utilities, affecting fifteen power plants in the state.
"Oklahoma is bracing for the impact of yet another EPA rule that will increase the regulatory burden on fifteen electric utilities and raise electricity prices across the state, while providing uncertain, if any, benefits to Oklahoma's aquatic resources," Senator Inhofe said.
"Under the proposed rule, EPA is planning to regulate man-made cooling reservoirs that are adjacent to power plants under 'waters of the United States' as if they were natural lakes needing protections for fish populations. This plan is extremely costly and unnecessary: these water intake structures have been in place on the cooling reservoirs for many years and, in conjunction with review by the state environmental agency, they pose no threat to fishery populations. Most notably, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has said that fish populations in the state's utility cooling ponds are healthy.
"For too long, EPA has gotten away with ignoring the costs of its rules on local businesses and consumers - Oklahomans deserve better. I urge EPA to consider my concerns carefully and inject sufficient flexibility into the final rule so that expensive, unnecessary costs can be avoided."