Oklahomans In Conflict Over Pollution Caused By Coal Industry - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Oklahomans In Conflict Over Pollution Caused By Coal Industry

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A protest group rallies outside an OG&E's power plant in the Muskogee area. A protest group rallies outside an OG&E's power plant in the Muskogee area.
State Representative Arthur Hulbert says OG&E provides valuable services to the community. State Representative Arthur Hulbert says OG&E provides valuable services to the community.
Others think the benefits are outweighed by metals and toxic chemicals in our waterways. Others think the benefits are outweighed by metals and toxic chemicals in our waterways.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The EPA says coal production is polluting our waterways. People have different opinions on how bad the pollution is.

"If you fish and consume those fish, if you boat, if you recreate in any of those water bodies, you're putting yourself in danger," said Whitney Pearson with the Beyond Coal Campaign.

Pearson and other members of the Beyond Coal Campaign rallied on the water in the shadow of OG&E's power plants.

"A lot of times it takes pushing from environmental organizations," Pearson said.

Pressure from environmental groups has helped bring about new regulations from the EPA that will regulate the water discharged by coal plants. According to the EPA, half of America's coal plants would already be in compliance with the new rules, but it could cost the other half hundreds of millions of dollars.

"With some different changes, the rates could go up and what have you," said State Representative Arthur Hulbert, District 14.

Hulbert lives just a few miles down the road.

"They've done some great things in our community as far as creation of jobs, economic development, and in terms of offering a great product," he said about OG&E.

According to protestors, it's bodies of water like the Arkansas River being affected by the run off by coal feed power plants, the EPA estimates that more than half of the pollution we see in water comes from that run off, because it contains metals and toxic chemicals.

"Like mercury, arsenic, lead, just to name a few. There's maybe only two or three people from this community that have anything to do with this," a woman said.

This woman chose not to give her name and says she doesn't really have a side, but in her eyes the push to "move beyond coal" could have devastating effects.

"They're not telling you what going to happen with all of these coal plants when they are put down; the thing is there is no replacement," she said.

We couldn't get in touch with the OG&E plant for comment.

Learn more about the EPA

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