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Environmental report finds harmful pollution from Oklahoma power plants

State utilities dispute a report from The Sierra Club released Tuesday that claims Oklahoma's six coal-fired power plants release too many harmful materials into the state's rivers.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: July 24, 2013
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A group of environmental organizations on Tuesday released a report that claims Oklahoma's six coal-fired power plants release too many harmful materials into the state's lakes and rivers.

Oklahoma utility companies disputed the report as inaccurate and misleading.

The report “Closing the Floodgates: How the Coal Industry is Poisoning Our Water and How We Can Stop It” reviewed water permits for 386 coal plants throughout the country. It found that 274 nationwide — including all six in Oklahoma — discharge coal ash and scrubber wastewater into waterways.

“None of these have limits on the amounts of toxic metals like arsenic, boron, cadmium, mercury and selenium they are allowed to dump into public waters,” the report stated.

“This report makes it clear that utility companies in Oklahoma need lessons in common sense: dumping poisons into our water without rigorous monitoring and reporting threatens the health, drinking water and recreation opportunities in Oklahoma,” said Whitney Pearson, who heads the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign in Oklahoma. “New Environmental Protection Agency limits on these toxics in our water will prevent children from getting sick and ensure our water is safe to drink and our fish are safe to eat.”

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Brian Alford said the company's wastewater permits are renewed by the EPA and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality every five years.

Its Muskogee plant was last checked in 2011 and its Sooner plant near Red Rock was inspected earlier this year.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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This report makes it clear that utility companies in Oklahoma need lessons in common sense: dumping poisons into our water without rigorous monitoring and reporting threatens the health, drinking water and recreation opportunities in Oklahoma.”

Whitney Pearson,
Sierra Club

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