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Environmental Groups Appeal Federal Ruling On Coal Ash Permitting Issues In Oklahoma

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma
Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Generation Station near Red Rock, Okla.

Three environmental groups are appealing part of a federal trial court ruling on how Oklahoma manages coal ash, the waste from coal-fired power plants.

Waterkeeper Alliance, Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) and the Sierra Club allege the Environmental Protection Agency unlawfully approved Oklahoma’s plan to manage the waste in a lawsuit in 2018.

The lower court approved part of the case in April, but rejected the requirement for the EPA to issue guidelines on public participation. The groups allege the EPA was wrong in approving Oklahoma’s coal ash plan because it excludes public input for permits that never expire.

“What Oklahoma's doing is taking the citizens out of the process for the whole lifetime of a facility unlike any other waste management process,” said Earl Hatley, co-founder of LEAD Agency, Inc.

The appeal to the decision is now awaiting a hearing in federal court.

Seth Bodine was KOSU's agriculture and rural issues reporter from June 2020 to February 2022.
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