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coal

Susan Holmes stands on the front porch of her home in Bokoshe, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The tiny community of Bokoshe is flanked by old mines, which companies are filling with thousands of tons of waste produced by the coal-fired power plant down the road.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas and Electric went before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission again this week to try to get approval for environmental upgrades at its coal-fired power plant in Red Rock, Okla.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas and Electric will go before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission again Monday to try to get approval for environmental upgrades at its coal-fired power plant in Red Rock.

The state's largest utility is running out of time to comply with new federal air quality standards.

The coal industry is hurting. For decades, coal was the go-to fuel for generating electricity. Now that is changing.

The connection between coal and generating electricity goes back to the late 19th century. A good place to get a sense of that history is the small town of Sunbury, Pa. — specifically at the corner of Fourth and Market streets at the Hotel Edison.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This morning the Oklahoma Corporation Commission rejected a plan by the state’s largest utility that could’ve raised monthly utility rates by nearly 20 percent over the next half-decade.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric made the $1.14 billion request in order to pay for upgrades that would put coal-fired power plants in compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another suit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday. This time he’s going after the federal Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions at coal plants, as BloombergBusiness’ Andrew M. Harris reports:

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the federal agency's proposed Clean Power Plan will threaten the reliability and affordability of power in the state.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Tulsa argues that the EPA is exceeding its authority and asks a court to grant an injunction prohibiting the EPA from regulating coal-fired electricity plants in Oklahoma.

OG&E Power Plant in Muskogee
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas & Electric has filed an application with state regulators seeking approval of a plan to put the company in compliance with federal environmental mandates and modernize one of its plants.

The company's Wednesday filing with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission calls for adding two emission control devices to the coal-fired units at the Sooner power plant near Red Rock; converting two coal-fired units at the Muskogee plant to natural gas and modernizing the natural gas units at the Mustang plant.

The improvements are estimated to cost about $1.1 billion.

Suzette Grillot starts a month-long European trip in London, and talks about Turkey's coal mine disaster and how that relate's to the United Kingdom's energy industry with University of Oklahoma Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Clarke Stroud.

Later, Rebecca Cruise discusses so-called 'dark networks' with University of Arizona political scientist H. Brinton Milward.

Paul Glazzard / The Geograph Britain And Ireland Project/Wikimedia Commons

World Views host Suzette Grillot starts a three-country, four-city, five-week tour of Europe this week for her work as the Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma. This week she’s in London with OU Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Clarke Stroud.

Turkey's Mining Disaster Resonates in England

Geoffrey Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons

A new coal mining operation near Oologah Lake in northeast Oklahoma would disturb 11,000 feet of streambed and drain a pond in the Panther Creek watershed. But that’s not the problem.

The issue is over how to restore the damaged land after mining ends — and that depends on whose rules apply: the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality’s or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

World Views host Suzette Grillot is in the middle of a four-city tour of China on behalf of her day job as the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. She lived in Beijing for a semester as a teaching fellow at Beijing University in 2007, but she’s there now with the College’s Assistant Dean, Rebecca Cruise.

Leflore County resident Alan Brady says the large berm in the background blocks the view of the mountains he had before mining started.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma and the federal government aren’t getting along.

From health insurance exchanges to power plant emissions, the Obama Administration just can’t seem to get Oklahoma to play ball.

And there’s a lesser-known fight that’s starting to get more attention — over coal mining. More specifically, how land is treated after it’s mined.

There’s a hearing underway in Poteau this week, where attorneys for Farrell-Cooper Mining Company are appealing federal violations at three of its former mines.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal appeals court in July ruled the EPA can implement its own plan to limit sulfur dioxide emissions at coal-fired power plants over the state’s plan. Oklahoma Gas & Electric — the state’s largest utility — and state Attorney General Scott Pruitt then asked for another hearing. On Thursday, that request was denied.

In an interview with StateImpact, OG&E spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea says the next step — if the parties opposed to the EPA regulations continue to take the legal route — would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is at war with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is overstepping its authority. He’s sued the federal agency and testified to Congress about its abuses.

The most visible battles have been over coal regulation, but the fight is about power — not power plants.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s a report out from a group of environmental organizations including Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club that says there are “essentially no limits” on the amounts toxic metals coal-fired power plants can dump into Oklahoma’s waterways.

Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is no fan of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and filing lawsuits against the federal agency has become a signature of the state’s chief legal adviser.

Doug Wertman / Flickr Creative Commons

The summer was tough on the Grand River Dam Authority’s relationship with Gov. Mary Fallin.

It started when the GRDA announced plans earlier this year to spend almost $400 million to build a new natural gas power plant, and upgrade its newest coal-fired plant in compliance with new federal regulations.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coal mining can cause a lot of damage to the landscape, and the federal government has rules about how mining companies are supposed to treat the land after they’re done with it.

Basically, they’re supposed to return it to approximately what it was like before.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is charged with making sure the Oklahoma Department of Mines is enforcing that rule. If the Oklahoma mining regulator doesn’t, the feds can step in and take over that role.

StateImpact Oklahoma

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 on StateImpact Oklahoma's website.

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