The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is at odds with the Environmental Protection Agency on plans to clear up haze at pristine areas in the state, including the Grand Canyon.
States are required to come up with a plan to reduce haze in pristine natural areas by 2064. Reducing haze means increased visibility at natural sites.
Arizona came up with a plan, says state Environmental Quality Director Henry Darwin, but the Environmental Protection Agency only accepted part it.
The EPA then wrote its own plan for dealing with emission from three power plants in the state, Darwin says.
The EPA is seeking public comment on its plan, which Darwin characterizes as overreaching.
“That’s not what the Clean Air Act contemplated," Darwin says.
The act says "the states would have the ability to come up with a plan to achieve those goals and it’s EPA’s responsibility to ensure that we are doing so," he says.
ADEQ is hoping to convince the EPA to consider Arizona’s plan in its entirety, but Darwin says he will take the EPA to court if that doesn’t happen.
"When they flat out refuse to acknowledge the responsibilities and rules the Clean Air Act sets forth, we have no other option but to file a lawsuit against them, which we plan on doing," Darwin says.
The EPA’s public comment period closes at the end of the month. That’s when the state Environmental Quality Department is considering filing a lawsuit.