"Coal Ash Bedevils Oklahoma Town, Revealing Weakness Of EPA Rule"

"BOKOSHE, Oklahoma — Here in the land of wind-whipped, rolling plains, the gray dust, which sparkles in just the right light, seems inescapable. Residents of this town near the Arkansas line say they have spotted it on their grass, trees, ponds, barns, furniture and cars.

The source of Bokoshe’s enduring misery is coal ash, an often-toxic byproduct of burning coal for electricity. Clouds of it, swirling like tornadoes at times, descend upon people while they sit in their yards and mow their lawns. The powdery material clogs swimming pools, air conditioners and chicken coops.

The ash, which contains harmful metals such as arsenic, chromium and lead, comes from a state-permitted disposal pit — operated by a company named Making Money Having Fun — fed by a power plant eight miles outside of town. Residents here began complaining about the dust to state regulators in 1998. More than a decade later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency got involved and in 2014 finally acknowledged that the pit has shown “evidence” of escaping coal ash dust. But the grime that coats the town has not gone."

Kristen Lombardi reports for the Center for Public Integrity June 30, 2016.

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 06/30/2016