Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

The EPA is Suing Oklahoma Gas & Electric Over Its Power Plant Emission Estimates

The federal government on Monday filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma Gas & Electric, accusing the electric utility of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly estimating the amount of emissions that could come from upgrades at two coal-fired power plants.

A copy of the government’s complaint, which was made through the Environmental Protection Agency, is included above.

In its lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency says OG&E failed to properly estimate future emission increases before starting upgrade projects at its Muskogee plant in Fort Gibson and its Sooner plant in Red Rock between 2003 and 2006. The EPA in November 2011 sent OG&E a formal “notice of violation,” the lawsuit states.

“This assessment must occur before construction on a proposed project is undertaken,” Robert Dreher, an acting Assistant Attorney General writes in the complaint:

OG&E performed numerous projects at its Muskogee and Sooner facilities without properly assessing the impact those projects would have on the plants’ future emissions. The analyses performed by OG&E at the time are legally insufficient …

OG&E spokesman Brian Alford says the utility followed proper procedures.

“Actual monitored data indicates that emissions did not increase as a result of the work performed,” Alford tells StateImpact.

OG&E is preparing a formal response to the lawsuit, but Alford says the utility likely has a different interpretation of the regulation it’s accused of violating.

In June, the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club issued a report that was critical of OG&E and its two coal-fired plants, which the environmental group says endangers Oklahomans with harmful sulfur dioxide emissions. Emissions at the power plants are under legal limits, but are likely to violate future clean air standards, the group told The Oklahoman.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.


  • mikekelley10

    Nothing to see here, folks. This is just one battle in Obama’s war on coal. I wonder what electricity will cost per k/h in this country when these creeps are done.

    • 918Environmentalist

      You must not live around here and have to deal with the ozone alert days because of these sulfur emissions.

      • @918environmentalist:disqus Curious who issues those alerts? Is it a local entity?

        • 918Environmentalist

          @joewertz:disqus – it’s done through INCOG (Indian Nations Council of Governments). They assist with many planning and monitoring aspects of the local environment.

  • mikekelley10

    Emissions did not go up. This is just part of the Obama/Sierra Club war on affordable energy. “Emissions are under legal limits, but are likely to violate future clean air standards.” This is nuts. Now these plants that produce affordable electricity for us all must meet standards that haven’t been invented yet? The whole thing sounds like an old Twilight Zone episode.

    The really sad part of the left’s war on affordable energy is that people of moderate means will be badly hurt by the inevitable (and desired) cost increases. The elites that are pushing this nonsense will be fine of course. Their trust funds will see them through.

    • 918Environmentalist

      The OG&E spokesman said they didn’t go up, which is exactly what you expect them to say. Not properly assessing the impact of upgrades (increased particluates, NOx, and SOx negatively impact human health and the environment) on the surrounding population should be met with a fine. You must like respiratory irritation and not know someone with asthma.

  • 918Environmentalist

    Tulsa is currently (as of July 16, 2013) in violation of the Ozone standard – we don’t need any more emission around here. http://www.ozonealert.com/scorecard2013.html

  • conium

    More OG&E emissions can be found at the coal fly ash dump near the Grand (Neosho) River on the Cherokee County side. directions: http://goo.gl/maps/3fLO6

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »