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U.S. State of Oklahoma Coal Combustion Residuals Permit Program

On June 18, 2018, the EPA Administrator signed a Federal Register notice approving of the first state permit program for the management of coal combustion residuals (CCR) in the state of Oklahoma. On the effective date of this notice, Oklahoma's permit program will operate in lieu of the Federal CCR program.

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Summary

EPA has approved Oklahoma's CCR state permit program application, pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) section 4005(d)(1)(B). Oklahoma's program allows the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to enforce rules promulgated under its solid waste statute related to CCR activities in non-Indian Country, as well as to issue permits and to enforce permit violations.

EPA conducted an analysis of ODEQ's permit program application, including Title 252 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code Exit in Chapter 517, Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities and its adoption of 40 CFR part 257, subpart D. Based on this analysis, EPA determined that ODEQ's submitted CCR permit program meets the standard for approval in section RCRA section 4005(d)(1)(A) and (B) and that Oklahoma's program contains all the elements of the federal rule, including requirements for location restrictions, design and operating criteria, groundwater monitoring and corrective action, closure requirements and post-closure care, recordkeeping, notification and internet posting requirements. It also contains state-specific language, references and state-specific requirements that differ from the federal rule, which EPA has determined to be at least as protective as the Federal criteria. EPA is therefore approving Oklahoma's application.

Approval of ODEQ's CCR state permit program allows the ODEQ regulations to apply to existing CCR units, as well as any future CCR units not located in Indian country, in lieu of the Federal requirements. EPA is not aware of any existing CCR units in Indian country within Oklahoma, but EPA will maintain sole authority to regulate and permit CCR units in Indian country, meaning formal and informal reservations, dependent Indian communities, and Indian allotments, whether restricted or held in trust by the United States.

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Background

State Regulations

In preparing to submit an application, Oklahoma promulgated regulations for CCR disposal units in Title 252 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code Exit in Chapter 517, Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities.

Application

On August 3, 2017, EPA received an application from the State of Oklahoma requesting review and approval of their CCR state permit program. Oklahoma supplemented its original application on October 18, 2017.

Completeness Letter

On December 21, 2017, EPA took the first step in the process of making a determination of whether to approve Oklahoma's state CCR permit program by notifying Oklahoma that the application was complete and that the formal process of soliciting public comment and making a final determination on whether to approve Oklahoma's CCR permit program will begin. Below is the letter EPA sent to ODEQ stating that their application was found to be complete.

Proposed Approval

In a Federal Register notice, EPA proposed to approve the application submitted by Oklahoma to allow the Oklahoma CCR state permit program to operate in lieu of the federal CCR program. EPA preliminarily determined that Oklahoma’s program meets the standard for approval under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. EPA sought comment on this proposal, and in response to requests for additional time, extended the comment period to March 19, 2018.

Public Hearing

EPA held a public hearing on February 13, 2018, at the ODEQ building located at 707 N Robinson Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For more information, visit the Public Hearing web page.

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