EVENT: David Pope of non-profit environmental advocacy organization, Southern Environmental Law Center, to speak at Skidaway Rotary

3 02 2009

David Pope of the Southern Environmental Law Center will speak to the Skidaway Rotary Feb. 18 about “Protecting Coastal Treasures.” Pope will discuss the unique and important resources on the Georgia coast, the threats they face, and what SELC is doing to protect those resources. The Southern Environmental Law Center is a non-profit, donor-supported environmental advocacy organization using the power of the law to protect the environment and special places in the South. Working to defend the public’s interest and never for private gain, SELC provides its legal services without charge to other environmental organizations and partner groups.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(SAVANNAH, GA) David Pope of the non-profit environmental advocacy organization, the Southern Environmental Law Center, will speak to the Skidaway Rotary February 18 about “Protecting Coastal Treasures.” Pope will discuss the unique and important resources on the Georgia coast, the threats they face, and what SELC is doing to protect those resources. The Southern Environmental Law Center uses the power of the law to protect the environment and special places in the South. Working to defend the public’s interest and never for private gain, SELC provides its legal services without charge to other environmental organizations and partner groups. SELC has a special initiative focused on protecting the Georgia coast with three lawyers working on this effort.

The Director of the Georgia/Alabama office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Pope oversees the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization’s special initiative focused on protecting the Georgia coast. He also supervises all of SELC’s other work in Georgia and Alabama, including work to protect the public’s interest in our air, water and forests and work to improve our transportation issues and energy efficiency. In addition, he serves on the management committee for the organization and helps sets the priorities for work throughout the South.

He is a former partner at Carr, Tabb & Pope in Atlanta, with 29 years of environmental law practice. He graduated from University of Florida, Phi Beta Kappa, and University of North Carolina Law School.
About the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC is a nonprofit donor supported, environmental advocacy organization using the power of the law to protect the environment and health in the Southeast. Since 1986, SELC has informed, implemented and enforced environmental law and policy concerning clean air and water, mountain forests, the coast and wetlands, and rural lands and livable communities. Working to defend the public’s interest and never for private gain, SELC provides its legal services without charge to other environmental organizations and partner groups. SELC has 63 staff members and offices in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia; Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina, Washington, DC,; and Atlanta. Visit SELC online at www.southernenvironment.org





State close to proposing Plant Washington permits

3 02 2009

 

S. Heather Duncan | Macon.com

A year after Power4Georgians applied for permits to build and operate a new coal-fired power plant in Washington County, the state Environmental Protection Division is still deliberating.

Originally, EPD officials had said they might have permits ready for public comment by the end of 2008, but it has taken a bit longer. The agency plans to hold a public meeting in Sandersville, probably in March or April, said Thomas Smith, public affairs coordinator for the EPD’s air protection branch.

At the meeting, the EPD would share information with the public about the permit requirements that are being considered before issuing a draft. Once draft permits are created, a public hearing and public comment period would be held before a final decision about permitting the plant.

Power4Georgians, the company behind the project, is a consortium of 10 electric cooperatives that would divvy up the 850 megawatts of power to be produced daily at Plant Washington. The company says it will bring 130 jobs to a county that has lost much of its employment base in recent years as the kaolin industry eroded.

Dean Alford, whose company, Allied Energy Services, is developing Plant Washington, said Power4Georgians has tweaked the design to accommodate EPD comments but has made no major changes.

“EPD is being very thorough, and they’re asking all the right questions,” he said. “We hope the public meeting will be in the near future.”

POWER4Georgians needs at least six environmental permits for the plant: an air pollution permit, groundwater and surface water withdrawal permits, a water discharge permit for used water that goes back into the Oconee River, a permit for the storm water running off from the plant, and a permit for storing the solid waste such as gypsum and fly ash generated by the plant.

Continue Reading Here.





Decatur PFOA Find Could Lead to Regulations

22 01 2009

GPB News

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are investigating how record amounts of PFOA and other Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) turned up in Decatur, Alabama sludge.

The investigation could eventually lead to regulated PFOA standards in sewage treatment, officials say, although much more data and studies would need to be completed before making such a determination. Already, the high levels in Decatur prompted an EPA drinking water advisory for PFOA and PFOS.

The question investigators have is whether Decatur is a unique case.

PFOA is classified by the EPA as a “likely carcinogen,” and numerous studies have linked it to various cancers. It is often described as a byproduct of making stain resistant carpet, and an ingredient in manufacturing non-stick surfaces such as Teflon.

Any new standards could impact a wastewater treatment plant in Whitfield County operated by Dalton Utilities that releases PFOA and other PFCs that eventually end up in the Conasauga River, a source of drinking water for several Northwest Georgia Communities.

Some samples gathered by the EPA in the Conasauga’s surface water have shown 12.5 times the advisable amount for drinking water.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division tested drinking water and fish tissue along the Conasaugua for PFOA and PFCs, but are still evaluating the results from that summer survey.

Dalton Utilities says they need more guidance from permitting authorities, and will not change operations until then.

In an effort to find the sources of PFOA in Decatur, EPA officials have requested information from fourteen companies with Alabama operations, including 3M, Japanese based chemical manufacturer Daikin, and Toray Flurofibers. According to EPA officials, all three chemical companies have been cooperative and are not suspected of any wrongdoing or law violations.

The EPA is also looking into privately held Alabama waste company, Biological Processors of Alabama, Inc, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Read on here.





Are Georgia EPD Fines High Enough?

22 11 2008

by Calvin Sneed | News Channel 9

It seems that more and more raw sewage is leaking into our creeks and rivers. Even this coming Monday, the city of Fort Oglethorpe plans to manually haul off tons of raw sewage, to bypass a pumping station that it’s repairing, where nearby residents say, it’s been leaking sewage for years. The fines for violations like that in Georgia are shockingly low, which made us wonder, how low can they go? A NewsChannel 9 investigation reveals at least one conservation group that thinks, the fines in Georgia are way too low to provide much incentive to stop the pollution of our waterways..

It seems the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, whose responsible for enforcing sewage violations in the state’s creeks and rivers, has been very busy in Catoosa County. “They collected over 41-thousand dollars in fines for violations to water quality standards, just in Catoosa County this year,” says Shana Udvardy with the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide environmental watchdog group.

We know where some of those fines came from. Back in June, a NewsChannel 9 investigation discovered raw sewage flowing directly into South Chickamauga Creek, from the Morris Estate Sewage Treatment Pond. As a result of our investigation, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division leveled a one-thousand dollar fine on the pond’s owner, the city of Ringgold. Just in the past two weeks, we discovered two separate sewage leaks at a pumping station on Steele Road. The city of Fort Oglethorpe was fined TWO, one-thousand dollar penalties. Those two problem areas, just THIS year. And then, there’s the Mitchell Acres Sewage Treatment pond about a mile-and-a-half away, also owned by Fort Oglethorpe. It’s scheduled to be closed, but as of today, is still accepting raw sewage for treatment. Since 2002, there have been 11 violations of sewage pollution into West Chickamauga Creek. At 500 dollars per violation, that adds up to 55-hundred dollars in fines.

“Clearly, the fines are not enough for industries that are polluting,” says Ms. Udvardy. The Georgia Conservancy says, the E-P-D should charge a fee to each municipality that treats sewage. That fee would fund enforcement of violations. The agency says, current fines do not provide enough incentive, to make municipalities see how important it is, to protect the environment.

Making the situation worse, are budget cuts of 6 per cent, 8 per cent and 10 per cent, coming next year, to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources budget, some cuts that would come from its Environmental Protection Division. “Our agency also believes those cuts will eventually hurt enforcement of pollution violations,” Ms. Udvardy says.

The fines in Tennessee are a litte more severe. If a discharge does not reach a creek, stream or river in the Volunteer State, the minimum fine is a thousand dollars involving a minor sewage treatment system, and 25-hundred dollars for a major one.. If the discharge does reach a creek, stream or river, the minimum fine is 25-hundred dollars for a minor system, and 5-thousand dollars for a major system. Each situation is different, and even the Department of Environment and Conservation, which enforces the penalties is itself, facing cuts next year..