Lawsuit claims ash is toxic

There are a host of veryserious allegations beingmade by several Bokosheresidents who filed a classaction lawsuit last week inLeFlore County DistrictCourt.The lawsuit filed againstmore than 23 defendants,including AES Shady Point,on October 6 in LeFloreCounty District Court statesthat the Defendants’ conductin the transport, storageand disposal of wastematerials from a coal burningpower plant and oil andgas drilling operations hasresulted in millions of tonsof waste material beingtransported and depositedin a huge pile at the disposalpit approximately onemile southeast of Bokoshe.The current six plaintiffsclaim that waste presentserious public health andenvironmental risks to themand their property and livestock.The suit is basicallyabout fly ash, which is alsoknown as coal ash. The suitstates that coal ash containsdangerous and harmful pollutantsand contaminants,including aluminum, antimony,arsenic, bariumbaron, cadmium, chromium,cobalt, copper, iron,lead, magnesium, manganese,mercury, molybdenum,nickel, selenium, silver,thallium, tin, titaniumand zinc.The EPA has currentlyruled that fly ash is nottoxic. Those involved in thelawsuit disagree.The group also allegesthat AES along withThumbs up Ranch, who isalso named in the suit,began illegally dumping theash at the ranch as early asthe mid-1990’s.“AES and TUR continuedthese illegal activitiesuntil 2001, at which timeTUR received a permit fora portion of its property tobe used as a commercialdisposal pit for the disposalof coal ash,” it states in thesuit.It goes on to say that residentswere never warned orgiven notice of the emissionof hazardous substances ontotheir properties and bodies ofwater and that the defendantsshould have known what wasgoing to happen.“Instead of giving thecommunity warning andnotice, defendants activelyengaged in a campaign ofdeception to mislead communityresidents into believingthat the coal ash wastematerial did not and does notpresent any threat and isincapable of causing anyharm to person or property,”it states in the suit.It goes on to say thatinstead of warning the communitythose involved soughtto intentionally deceivethem.AES officials said onMonday that they hope tohave a response to the suitsoon but that they believe theallegations in the suit arebaseless and without merit.