Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Monday reiterated his dislike of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Regional Haze Plan, noting the agency denied his state’s haze plan after entering into a consent degree with environmental group WildEarth Guardians, which had filed a lawsuit in Colorado.

Mead alleges that the federal plan will add more than $1 billion in costs to Wyoming power plant operators with what he considers little or no differences in combating haze. Last month, Mead strongly opposed the federal plan during testimony at an EPA hearing in Washington, DC.

“We continue to be concerned about the regional haze issue and where that is going,” Mead said Monday during a press conference in southwest Wyoming.

“In my view our state had a very reasonable and robust plan, and the federal government recently chose to settle with an environmental group, and the federal proposal [on combating regional haze] would cost our power plants an additional $1 billion initially in new capital investment and about $100 million annually for operating costs with no perceivable differences [in the respective plans].

“Ultimately, the state in four or five years after the federal plan will be in the same place.”

Earlier in the year in a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe, Mead said his state’s estimates conclude the revised federal proposal would “significantly increase” costs for Wyoming utilities, ultimately raising costs for energy utility customers (see Daily GPI, June 18). The Wyoming governor has been asking EPA to listen more to his state on the issue since last year (see Daily GPI, Aug. 9, 2012).

Wyoming was recently complimented by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Wyoming Outdoor Council for its draft regulations for establishing groundwater testing for oil and natural gas operators in the state. Mead and his staff were thanked by the Outdoor Council “for hearing our concerns on these issues,” according to the council’s associate director, Chris Merrill.