Environmentalists step up demands in challenge to Oklahoma’s coal ash control

The environmental law group Earthjustice is asking a federal judge in the District of Columbia to grant a summary judgment in its fight to stop Oklahoma from regulating the disposal of coal ash.

The new filing is the latest in the lawsuit brought by Earthjustice after the Environmental Protection Agency under the control of then-administrator Scott Pruitt turned over coal ash disposal regulation and permitting to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in 2018.

The lawsuit was actually filed by Waterkeeper Alliance Inc., Local Environmental Action Demanded Agency and the Sierra Club. Earthjustice attorneys Jennifer Cassel and Charles McPhedran filed their request for the summary judgment last week, arguing the EPA decision was filled with mistakes.

They contend the EPA did not promulgate minimum guidelines for public participation in state coal ash programs. Their  request contends the state program deprives the public of legally required opportunities for public participation.

Earthjustice also alleges the Oklahoma program fails to guarantee protection of human health and the environment as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The attorneys also claim the EPA failed to respond to Waterkeeper’s comments on some of the issues in the approval process.

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