Environmental groups sue over Oklahoma coal ash oversight

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Several environmental groups are trying to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from transferring oversight of the disposal of toxic coal ash to state regulators in Oklahoma.

The group Earthjustice filed a lawsuit this week in federal court in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance and Oklahoma-based Local Environmental Action Demanded agency.

The groups allege the EPA unlawfully approved Oklahoma’s state coal ash program that allows “unsafe impoundments full of toxic coal ash” to continue operating.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t comment on pending legislation.

The gray ash left behind when coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead and mercury.

Earthjustice said it conducted an analysis of groundwater data from Oklahoma that shows contamination at four Oklahoma coal ash dump sites.

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