Trump's EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states

In this April 8, 2019, photo, the entrance to the coal-waste dump site is padlocked in Bokoshe, Okla. President Donald Trump’s EPA has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over permitting and enforcement on coal-ash sites. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this April 8, 2019, photo, a chute to dump coal waste at the open heap of toxic fly ash can be seen through the trees of a nearby home in Bokoshe, Okla. Residents of Bokoshe have been worried for years about coal-ash contamination. Now the Environmental Protection Agency has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over enforcement on coal-ash sites. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
This April 8, 2019, photo, shows a coal-waste dump site in Bokoshe, Okla. Residents of Bokoshe have been worried for years about coal-ash contamination. Now the Environmental Protection Agency has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over enforcement on coal-ash sites. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this April 8, 2019, photo, Tim Tanksley, who has been fighting for years trying to convince Oklahoma lawmakers to crack down on the coal ash dumping, stands outside a dump site in Bokoshe, Okla. President Donald Trump’s EPA has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over permitting and enforcement on coal-ash sites. “They’re going to do absolutely nothing,” Tanksley said. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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.

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