Bartlesville resident files lawsuit to stop development, citing river pollution

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Quick facts:

  • The Silver Lake Village Development is underway in Bartlesville.
  • The development is slated to bring new shopping to the city.
  • A lawsuit alleges developers polluted a nearby river.

A new, multimillion-dollar shopping development underway in Bartlesville could hit a hitch after a local resident filed a lawsuit to halt it.

Joel Rabin, a man described as an “avid outdoorsman,” filed the lawsuit, saying developers violated the Clean Water Act by polluting the Caney River.

According to the lawsuit, Rabin fishes the river, and it provides “substantial value” to him and other community members.

The document alleges that the Bartlesville Investment Partners, LLC., GBT Realty Corporation and Bartlesville Development Authority have adversely affected the waters near the Silver Lake area development.

The massive development is set to bring new retailers to Washington County, such as Ulta Cosmetics, Petco, Ross, TJ Maxx and Rackroom Shoes.


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Rabin claims the developers discharged pollutants into the Caney River, the floodplain, a nearby tributary and the surrounding wetlands during their work there.

His lawsuit urges the court to stop any development that would result in discharges into the water and ensure that any current pollution is cleaned up on the defendant’s dime.

In a notice from the Indian and Environmental Law Group late last year, Rabin said he would like to resolve the matter without litigation during a 60-day notice period. Earlier this week, he filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northeast District of Oklahoma.

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