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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Both inspections found the metals listed in the environmental report as “below detection,” Alford said.

“We don't dispose of coal ash on site, either at Muskogee or Sooner,” Alford said.

The environmental report also found that three of the state's six coal plants are operating with expired Clean Water Act permits. Western Farmers Electric Cooperative said the claim is misleading.

“Western Farmers Electric Cooperative's single coal-fired electric generation unit located near Hugo, Oklahoma, is, despite the allegations of the Sierra Club, in compliance with the Clean Water Act and its valid Clean Water Act permit,” Brian Hobbs, Western Farmers' vice president of legal and corporate services, said in a statement.

“While the term of the existing permit has passed, the governing regulations provide that so long as the facility has made timely application for a permit renewal at least six months in advance of the expiration date, the existing permit continues in force and effect until such time a new permit is issued. Western Farmers Electric Cooperative has made such application and has complied with the applicable water regulations and the existing water permit is valid and enforceable. The regulations are clear on this matter.”

A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality declined to comment Tuesday, saying agency representatives had not had a chance to review Tuesday's report.

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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