The Georgia Water Coalition considers it a “call to action” to correct pollution problems, i.e. this year’s Dirty Dozen List.
The list highlights what the coalition calls the 12 worst offenses in terms of threatening Georgia’s rivers and streams.
Among the issues, one we have heard about continually and that is the discharge coming from the Rayonier Plant in Jesup, Georgia. The Coalition says the discharge smells and fouls the water and that the discharge is changing the color of the water. It says the state’s EPD (Environmental Protection Division) should be demanding more from the company as it writes a new permit for Rayonier. The Altamaha Riverkeeper says the EPA (Environmental Protection Division) is now becoming involved at the federal level, but she can’t say what, if anything the EPA might demand. Rayonier officials have told us in the past that since 2008 (after being ordered by the state) that it has spent millions to clean up the discharge and will do more in the future.
Two new issues this year:
1) Offshore oil drilling. For the first time in 30 years, leases may be sold off local coastlines. Mayors and city councils in a number of coastal communities like Tybee have come out against a plan. But Governor Nathan Deal approves of the idea.
2) While some parts of this report are critical of the governor’s policies (as have been reports in years past) this year Deal gets a “shout out” for not supporting the Palmetto Pipeline. In fact, after the first 12 problems, a “Clean 13” is listed. And that is the encouragement many groups have garnered from the governor’s lack of support for the project.
“We’re very excited to be able to say the Georgia Governor did a great job,” says Tonya Bonitatibus, the Savannah Riverkeeper. “He recognized there was a lack of need for this project and he recognized citizens did not want it, especially not the need to use eminent domain.”
But Bonitatibus told us “this is far from over.”
Several months ago, the Georgia DOT Commissioner denied a certificate of need and necessity to Kinder Morgan, the company planning the pipeline. Kinder Morgan has appealed that decision and will argue its case in court on November 13. Bonitatibus is hopeful the company will not prevail but says nothing can be known for certain until a court ruling.
Read the Dirty Dozen Report here.