The Sierra Club, along with a coalition of environmental groups, looked through water permits for nearly 400 coal-fired power plants across the U.S., and found more than half of them allow the discharge of coal ash and wastewater from scrubbers into waterways. Six are in Oklahoma.
In a press release sent out on Tuesday, Oklahoma’s Beyond Coal Campaign says the dumping is happening with impunity.
“Of these six coal plants, most have no requirements to monitor or report discharges of toxic metals to federal authorities,” organizing representative Whitney Pearson says. “Some waterways like the Grand Neosho and Washita Rivers are already impaired but the coal plants that discharge to them have no limits in their permits regulating the amount … that are dumped in the rivers.”
The report says three Oklahoma plants have expired Clean Water Act permits, and even if they had updated permits, the guidelines limiting arsenic, mercury and other metals are more than 30 years old.
As the EPA considers new standards, the environmental groups want the strongest possible response: Guidelines that all but outright ban the toxic releases.