The company provides gravel and sand that has been used in construction projects and on school roofs around Tulsa and in the tri-state area the past 20-plus years.
Two landowners along the creek filed suit against Ozark under Section 505 of the Clean Water Act, which allows individuals to file suit in lieu of federal or state agency enforcement.
Local landowner David Benham first filed a lawsuit in 2011. Resident Nanetta Thompson filed one earlier this year regarding similar complaints related to a different section of the same mine. Both claimed that activity at the mine violated Clean Water Act provisions and led to excessive erosion and degradation of water quality in the historically clear-water stream.
U.S. District Judge John E. Dowdell ruled in favor of Benham in October 2018, and the Cherokee Nation was later appointed overseer of progress at the mine as a conservation easement holder. Eastman was to pay a $35,000 fine plus $40,000 in attorney fees.The ruling also required establishment of a conservation easement on the property with restoration to be carried out by the miner under Cherokee Nation supervision.
Alison said monthly meetings were a part of that agreement, so attorneys and the involved parties have been in regular contact and negotiations. He said very little progress was made toward restoration. The contempt of court hearing was based on that apparent lack of progress.