StateImpact Oklahoma
1:16 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Sierra Club Sues OG&E, Claims Coal Boiler Mods Violated Federal Clean Air Act

The first page of the Sierra Club's lawsuit against OG&E.
The first page of the Sierra Club's lawsuit against OG&E.
Credit Provided / The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest electric utility, alleging the company violated the federal Clean Air Act by modifying a coal burner at its Muskogee power plant without “planning for increased levels of air pollution and failing to obtain a permit from state regulators.”

From the complaint:

The Clean Air Act specifically prohibits the construction (including modification) of a “major emitting facility” unless a permit is issued …

The environmental group’s lawsuit is separate but similar to one filed in July by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

More from the complaint:

… the new or modified facility is subject to best available control technology (“BACT”) emission limitations and must demonstrate that its emissions will not cause violations of air quality standards nor adversely impact visibility or other air quality related values of special areas such as National Parks.

The lawsuit is the latest local salvo in the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal Campaign,” which has targeted Oklahoma coal-fired power plants for air and water pollution.