Oct 1, 2013 The Associated Press

State joins haze lawsuit

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming is one of a dozen states suing the Environmental Protection Agency over what the states see as a cozy relationship between the agency and environmental groups in enacting new rules and regulations.

The lawsuit, filed this summer in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, demands that the agency turn over documents the states contend will show a pattern of cooperation and collaboration between the EPA and environmental organizations.

It alleges that the EPA and environmental groups cooperate by employing a so-called "sue and settle" strategy -- Environmental groups sue the EPA and the two enter a binding consent decree setting new rules and regulations.

The EPA denies that it participates in any such practice, noting it has no control over what parties sue the agency and what issues are involved.

Wyoming contends that the strategy was used when the EPA rejected the state's plan for controlling regional haze from coal-fired power plants and the agency offered its own proposal.

The EPA plan seeks to reduce haze in national parks and wilderness areas by further limiting air pollution from coal-fired power plants in Wyoming. The EPA argues the state plan is inadequate.

Gov. Matt Mead and other state officials counter that the EPA plan would kill Wyoming's coal industry while providing little improvement over the state's proposed plan.

Todd Parfitt, director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, said the EPA has finished collecting public comment on its proposal and was scheduled to issue its decision by Nov. 21.

Conference eyes health care

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming is sponsoring a three-day conference examining changes occurring in the U.S. health care system.

The conference begins Wednesday in Laramie.

UW Professor Virginia Vincenti says speakers will discuss the Affordable Care Act, but the conference's focus won't be limited to the federal health reform law.

Organizers tried to find people who could talk about different new approaches to delivering heath care as well as innovations.

The conference opens a day after the launch of Wyoming's health insurance exchange, which was put into place by the Affordable Care Act. The exchange will serve as a sort of virtual marketplace where consumers can shop for insurance.

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