Trump's EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states

May 20, 2019

A small town in Oklahoma is warning communities about the Trump administration's environmental policies

BOKOSHE, Okla. — A small town in Oklahoma is warning communities about the Trump administration's environmental policies.

Residents of Bokoshe (bo-KOSH-eee) have been worried for years about coal-ash contamination from a power plant that burns the high-sulfur coal mined near the community southeast of Tulsa.

Townspeople regard the Environmental Protection Agency as the only source of serious environmental enforcement. Now the EPA has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over enforcement on coal-ash sites.

The EPA is delegating more enforcement to states. The administration says local officials know best how to deal with local problems. Critics say regulators are retreating on enforcement and putting people and the environment at greater risk.

Many EPA enforcement actions have fallen sharply over the past two years, some to the lowest point in decades.