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High Court Lets Arkansas Dump In Illinois River

Allan Cromley Published: February 27, 1992

"We find nothing in the act to support this reading. " Stevens said the "categorical ban" supported by the appeals court "might frustrate the construction of new plants that would improve existing conditions. " He also sided with the EPA's chief judicial officer, who ruled that Oklahoma standards "would only be violated if the discharge effected an 'actually detectable or measurable' change in water quality. " And the high court sided with an administrative law judge's finding that "the Fayetteville discharge would not lead to a detectable change in water quality (downstream)" and therefore "would not violate the Oklahoma water quality standards. " In finding otherwise, the circuit court "made a policy change that it was not authorized to make," Stevens wrote.

After learning of the ruling, Loving said, "We will not allow the Illinois River to be destroyed. " Loving said the court "has left open the door for us to attack the dumping permit once we show detectable impact on the river. ... " "We will aggressively oppose any reissuance of the Fayetteville plant's EPA permit the moment we have obtained the proof we need of any detectable impact on the river. " Loving said no study of the river's water quality has been finished since Fayetteville began its discharges.

She said a study would take about a year to complete.

A request for a new permit for the Fayetteville plant has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the lawsuit, she said.

"We'll be trying to get information together to fight that permit by showing that there is a detectable impact," she said.

Sen. David Boren, D-Seminole, also said he was disappointed by the court's decision.

"The EPA clearly did not sufficiently consider Oklahoma's interest," Boren said.

Staff writer Paul English contributed to this report. BIOG: NAME:

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