Sierra Club Sues EPA over Okla. Coal-Fired Power Plants

Article excerpt

The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., District Court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 2, seeking to ensure that the federal agency enforces a state plan that monitors and reduces pollution from Oklahoma coal-fired power plants.

The Sierra Club warned the EPA in February that the lawsuit was coming in 60 days if the agency failed to act, the environmental group said in a statement.

No action was taken, so the Sierra Club followed through, said Whitney Pearson, associate field organizer for group's Oklahoma chapter.

"Sierra Club brought this citizen suit because EPA must act to either approve or disapprove the state's plan to address these excess harmful emissions," Pearson said. "What we ultimately expect out of this action is to end the free pass that large polluters currently have which allows them to emit unlimited amounts of pollution during certain phases of their operations. Because people need to breathe all the time, limits of the amount of pollution that polluters can emit need to apply all the time. This case is one step in getting to that point."

The EPA will review the details of the Sierra Club lawsuit, said Dave Bary, EPA Region 6 spokesman.

"EPA will discuss with the Sierra Club and the state of Oklahoma the next appropriate steps in this legal matter," Bary said.

The plants involved include the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.'s Muskogee plant, Pearson said. OG&E has another coal-fired power plant, Sooner Station, in Red Rock.

Brian Alford, OG&E spokesman, said the company will have to wait for an outcome.

"So, once we know what this process will be, rest assured we will follow that process, once we know what that is," Alford said. …