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Today, dozens of Sierra Club members, clean energy supporters and Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) staff testified in favor of bringing new clean, affordable wind energy to Georgia consumers. Georgia Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, is asking the Public Service Commission to approve two contracts to import 250 megawatts (MW) of wind power, enough to power more than 60,000 Georgia homes, from wind farms in Oklahoma. In written testimony, Public Service Commission staff indicated that Georgia Power customers could save even more money on electricity bills if the company signed additional contracts for affordable wind power.
The Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) today filed suit against Rayonier Inc. and Rayonier Performance Fibers LLC (“Rayonier”), charging that the discharge into the Altamaha River from the company’s Jesup-based pulp mill is violating clean water standards. The dark and foul-smelling effluent is discharged at rates of up to 60 million gallons per day into the river rendering fish inedible for many miles downstream and is clearly visible at the river surface and from the air. Google Earth shows it changing the river color to an unnatural dark brown for miles running downstream from the mill towards the Atlantic Ocean.
March 13, 2014 (ATLANTA) – Today, Georgia Power executives argued in favor of bringing new clean, cheap wind energy to Georgia consumers at the state Public Service Commission (PSC). Georgia Power is asking the Commission to approve two contracts to import 250 megawatts (MW) of wind power, enough to power more than 50,000 Georgia homes. If the PSC votes to approve the contracts, wind will power Georgia homes and businesses for the first time starting in 2016.
The Southern Environmental Law Center has joined GreenLaw and the Atlanta-based law firm Stack & Associates to represent the Altamaha Riverkeeper in its efforts to stop pollution of the Altamaha River, caused by ongoing effluent discharges from the Rayonier Performance Fibers plant in Jesup, Georgia.
Febraury 11, 2014 – ATLANTA – MaKara Rumley, Environmental Justice Attorney for GreenLaw, attended the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) meeting in Denver this week that featured a recognition of the 20th Anniversary of Executive Order 12898. This landmark order, signed by President Clinton, was the first major federal action on environmental justice (EJ) in America. It required that all federal agencies “make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing ... disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.”
GreenLaw is launching the “Save the Spit” campaign to fight overdevelopment on Sea Island. The Save the Spit campaign is a collaborative social media campaign that will build public consensus and awareness about the issues concerning the latest plan by Sea Island Acquisitions to overdevelop Sea Island.
The Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL) is pleased to announce MaKara Rumley of GreenLaw as one of thirty-five outstanding Georgians who will participate in IGEL Class of 2014. IGEL is a not-for-profit (501c 3) organization governed by a board of directors which represents different regions and sectors of influence throughout the state. IGEL has partnered with the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University to develop and run the curriculum and leadership components.
GreenLaw is excited to announce the gift of a significant grant in the amount of $108,000 from two private donors to provide legal and technical support to groups working to protect Georgia’s coast.
Today the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to approve Georgia Power’s proposed $870 million rate increase on its 2.1 million customers statewide. The PSC responded to public outcry against Georgia Power’s proposed solar tax, but Georgians will still be paying in advance for costly upgrades to aging, increasingly obsolete coal-fired power plants. Based on today’s action, residential customers could pay up to $100 more per year by 2016, when the full rate hike takes effect.
At the August 26th Board of Natural Resources (DNR Board) meeting, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) proposed changes to Georgia’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) rules. The proposed changes included an alarming roll-back of Georgia’s hog-waste rule that endangered water quality and public health. EPD coordinated a public comment process and reported receiving 900 comments and most were opposed to the change. The DNR Board was to consider adoption of the rule change at their December 3 board meeting, but the issue was not put on the agenda and is reportedly under further review.
Mark Bell, chairman of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, has issued a statement on the agreement between Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission not to include a tariff on Georgia’s solar installations.
Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) and King America Finishing have worked together to resolve a set of legal and regulatory battles that have been ongoing since a fish kill occurred in the Ogeechee River in May 2011. The settlement agreement puts in place comprehensive and stringent environmental protections and establishes programs to aid in restoration efforts along the river. The new terms alleviate ORK’s prior concerns over the issuance of a new wastewater discharge permit for the Screven County textile manufacturing plant.
Georgia’s leading water protection group named its “Dirty Dozen” for 2013, highlighting 12 of the worst offenses to Georgia’s waters. The annual Dirty Dozen report shines a spotlight on state policies and failures that ultimately harm Georgia property owners, downstream communities, fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers, and boaters and swimmers.
Local leaders, faith leaders, public health officials and environmental advocates gathered today at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listening session to call for action on the unchecked carbon pollution from power plants. Bold action on carbon pollution from power plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of the U.S. carbon pollution that causes climate change, is vital to protect public health.
GreenLaw, a Georgia-based nonprofit law firm, has been awarded a $35,000 grant from The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to enhance strategic planning around governance and environmental justice partnerships.
New federal safeguards for coal pollution cast further doubt on the fate of the proposed Plant Washington coal-fired power plant in Sandersville, GA. The new standards come as the nation shifts toward cleaner sources of energy, with 149 existing coal-fired plants scheduled for retirement, 179 proposed new plants canceled since 2001, and recent high-profile bankruptcies have highlighted coal's inability to compete in the marketplace.
GreenLaw Honors Jewell Harper With Odgen Doremus Award
At the August 26th Board of Natural Resources (DNR Board) meeting, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) proposed changes to Georgia’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) rules. The proposed changes include an alarming roll-back of Georgia’s hog-waste rule that endangers water quality and public health.
July 18, 2013 (ATLANTA) – This week Fulton County Commissioners passed an Environmental Justice Zoning amendment that will require additional scrutiny of new businesses seeking pollution permits near environmentally-stressed residential communities in unincorporated South Fulton County.
Republished in Southeast Green.

In a decision applauded by political groups across the spectrum, the Georgia Public Service Commission, (PSC), voted to approve Georgia Power’s proposal to retire 20% of its coal plants and added a new program to bring 525 megawatts, (MW), of solar power developments to Georgia by 2016.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it would consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to reinstate the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which would require significant reductions in air emissions for power plants, including those located in Georgia.
In an order issued yesterday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled that the Ogeechee Riverkeeper vs. King American Finishing case can proceed on the Riverkeeper’s claim that King America has been illegally polluting the River without a permit.
In a major step forward for the clean energy economy and public health, thousands of
Georgia homes and businesses will be powered by clean wind energy imported from Oklahoma by 2016. Georgia Power has announced a deal to import wind energy from Oklahoma to Georgia customers.

On Monday, GreenLaw filed a suit in federal court on behalf of the Sierra Club claiming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to meet a statutorily imposed deadline of January 20, 2012 to act on a state regulation that had been submitted for incorporation into Georgia’s Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan.
Citing recent air quality reports, on March 6 GreenLaw became the only organization to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Atlanta’s clean air re-designation. The comments were filed on behalf of Mothers and Others for Clean Air and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield selected for Green Chamber of the South’s board of directors and Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership’s 2013 class.
On Monday, Georgia Power announced that it aims to take a total of 15 units at Plant Branch, Plant Yates, Plant McManus, Plant Kraft and Plant Boulevard offline. The move follows nationwide trends by public utility companies who are turning to renewable energy sources. In fact, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, coal use has dropped to its lowest levels in generations, and is powering less than half of America’s homes and businesses.
December 11, 2012: GreenLaw is encouraging DeKalb County and other metro Atlanta residents to attend next week’s Georgia Environmental Protection Division public hearing regarding Green Energy Partner’s proposed biomass facility.
Citing time constraints and conflicts of interest, Friday GreenLaw filed comments with Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) regarding the expedited permitting process for air permits urging the agency to keep permitting review in-house, rather than using third parties. The comments were filed on behalf of Mothers and Others and the Georgia Chapter of the American Lung Association.
In the latest of the ongoing legal battles surrounding the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history and the unpermitted pollution discharge from King America Finishing, GreenLaw and Stack & Associates, on behalf of Ogeechee Riverkeeper, have filed a Petition of Mandamus in the Superior Court of Screven County.
Mayor Deborah Jackson to serve on GreenLaw’s board of directors while Steve Caley and Makara Rumley join the staff attorney team
An environmental advocate, Brockovich’s visit will raise funds and awareness for the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history.
On Friday, October 19, GreenLaw, a nonprofit providing free high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia, celebrated its 20th anniversary at the annual Environmental Heroes Celebration. Hosted on the rooftop terrace of Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough in Midtown Atlanta, GreenLaw honored Congressman John Lewis, Justine Thompson and NewFields with prestigious awards for their commitment to Georgia’s environmental community.
On Thursday, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, GreenLaw and Stack and Associates raised concerns about the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s consent order proposal, which recommends King America Finishing complete $1 million in Supplemental Environmental Projects to benefit the Ogeechee River.
The State of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has withdrawn King America Finishing’s (KAF) water pollution permit today, and is requiring the company to perform an anti-degradation analysis.
Sierra Club and GreenLaw applaud Georgia Power's recent announcement, but call on Georgia Power and Georgia Public Service Commissioners to further tap Georgia’s solar resources, and allow homeowners to pursue solar power generation on their property through a variety of financing mechanisms.
Atlanta, GA - GreenLaw and Stack and Associates, on behalf of Ogeechee Riverkeeper, filed an appeal of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s issuance of a water pollution permit for King America Finishing
Citing clean air and public health concerns, Wednesday GreenLaw filed a petition with the EPA, urging the agency to revise the Title V Operating Permit for Southern Power’s Plant Wansley in Heard County, Ga.
Atlanta, GA - GreenLaw, on behalf of Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Inc., submitted comments on King America Finishing, Inc.'s (King America) Draft Title V Permit. The Title V permit is supposed to limit air pollution from King America's Dover facility, which sits near the Ogeechee River, the site of a massive fish kill in May 2011.
Despite the fact that power plants contribute nearly half of all toxic air pollution, today the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which would have required significant reductions in air emissions for power plants, including those located in Georgia.
Savannah Morning News, August 15, 2012: By WALTER C. JONES
MARIETTA — Sen. Johnny Isakson is reviewing whether to call for federal involvement in blocking a permit to discharge into the Ogeechee River by King America Finishing.

August 10, 2012: Despite the opposition of thousands of Georgians, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a pollution permit allowing King America Finishing to continue discharging excessive levels of ammonia, formaldehyde and other chemicals into the Ogeechee River.
July 24, 2012: Ogeechee Riverkeeper, represented by GreenLaw and Stack and Associates, filed a lawsuit in federal court against King America Finishing, Inc. for violations of the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit alleges that King America Finishing continues illegally to discharge pollution to the Ogeechee River.
Updates on the proposed biomass facility near Lithonia, GA
Statesboro, GA -- On April 18, 2012 Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) filed an appeal in Superior Court of Bulloch County. The organization appealed an administrative law judge’s decision which prevented Ogeechee Riverkeeper from challenging a Consent Order entered into between the State and King America Finishing in Screven County, GA. King America Finishing’s discharge into the Ogeechee River has been associated with the biggest fish kill in Georgia history.
Atlanta, GA: On March 20, 2012, a judge in Atlanta ruled that citizens have no right to challenge the state’s handling of the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history. Ogeechee Riverkeeper, represented by the public interest law firm, GreenLaw, and the environmental law firm, Stack & Associates, had filed a legal challenge to the state environmental agency’s handling of the largest fish kill in state history. While Judge Lois Oakley, who issued the decision, found that Ogeechee Riverkeeper members were injured by the fish kill, she nevertheless rejected their case finding that Ogeechee Riverkeeper could not show that its members had been harmed by the agency’s decision
Atlanta, GA - On May 2, 2012, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution urging the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to take swift action to develop, implement, and enforce regulations and policies to promote environmental justice for the citizens of Fulton County and the entire State of Georgia. The resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Emma I. Darnell, was drafted after the release of a report on pollution in the metro Atlanta area from the Georgia environmental organization, GreenLaw.
Atlanta, GA – Clean air advocates and environmental groups won a victory yesterday when Power4Georgians (P4G), the only company trying to develop expensive new coal plants in Georgia, agreed to cancel the proposed Ben Hill coal-fired power plant. The company also agreed to comply with critical new safeguards against mercury pollution and invest $5 million in energy efficiency and renewable projects. The Sierra Club, the Fall Line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center and GreenLaw, successfully challenged the permit for Plant Washington issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and the settlement agreement is pending approval by each group. If built, Power4Georgians’ Plant Washington will have to meet the much more protective emission standards for mercury and other air toxins
On Monday, March 26, GreenLaw and NewFields released a new report, Patterns of Pollution:A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta
GreenLaw is a founding member of the new advocacy group, Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP), a coalition made up of Georgia-based farmers, chefs, animal welfare advocates, environmentalists, and health care professionals. GPP released a white paper showing the damage chicken factories are having on the state.
The country’s longest-running campaign against construction of a new coal plant ended today as LS Power, a New Jersey-based power company, announced that it will cancel plans to build the Longleaf Energy Station in Blakely, GA. Sierra Club, Friends of the Chattahoochee and GreenLaw have been organizing against the Longleaf coal plant since it was first proposed in 2001. This victory comes as part of a legal agreement between LS Power and Sierra Club.
November 2, 2011: The controversial Longleaf Energy Station proposal hit another obstacle as environmental organizations filed an appeal in Fulton County Superior Court identifying errors in the approval of an air quality permit for the plant. Although the Longleaf plant is the largest new source of air pollution Georgia has allowed for decades, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) classified it as a “minor source” of hazardous air pollutants, a decision that was later upheld by a state administrative law judge. The legal challenge was filed by Sierra Club and Friends of the Chattahoochee represented by the environmental public interest firm, GreenLaw.
June 29, 2011 – Today the Board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) voted to allow Georgia Power to delay installation of pollution controls on two of the four units at its aging coal-fired power plant in Milledgeville. While the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of DNR recommended the resolution, environmental groups opposed the change.
June 16, 2011 – State and local environmental organizations have reached an agreement that will provide habitat protection for fish in the Oconee River near Plant Washington, a proposed 850 MW coal-fired power plant in Washington County near Sandersville, Georgia. The Altamaha Riverkeeper, the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center and GreenLaw, settled their challenge of the water discharge permit for the proposed plant.
April 20, 2011 – A Georgia administrative law court handed a victory to opponents of a proposed 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Blakely, Georgia. According to the ruling issued on April 19, the state permit did not sufficiently limit harmful air pollution that will be emitted by the plant.
April 7, 2011 – Today, the South River Watershed Alliance (Alliance), represented by public interest attorneys from GreenLaw, took steps to ensure that the DeKalb residents harmed by years of illegal sewer overflows from DeKalb County will have a seat at the table as regulators finalize a deal with the County on how to fix the ailing sewer system.
March 29, 2011 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") today reversed a 2008 decision that had weakened Alabama laws limiting emissions from smokestacks. In one of its final actions, the Bush Administration allowed Alabama to ease restrictions on the amount of smoke that sources such as power plants may emit. Today’s rulemaking action by EPA is a victory for cleaner air across Alabama and especially in areas like heavily-polluted Birmingham, which has failed to meet federal air quality standards for dangerous fine particulates for many years.
February 7, 2011 – Beginning February 8, attorneys for GreenLaw, a nonprofit public interest law firm acting on behalf of two citizens’ groups, Friends of the Chattahoochee (FOC) and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, will present their challenge to the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) decision to approve the construction of the largest new proposed coal-fired power plant in Georgia, Longleaf Energy Station.
January 19, 2011 – Representing six community organizations with interests in the quality of DeKalb County’s waters, GreenLaw attorneys today filed an official public comment urging a stronger Consent Decree between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DeKalb County. While applauding the overall direction of the improvements outlined in the Consent Decree negotiated in December, the citizen groups point out a number of serious omissions in the Decree that weaken its effectiveness as a tool to enforce compliance with environmental protections that DeKalb County has neglected over many years.
December 16, 2010 —A Georgia state court today rejected Georgia’s air quality permit for Plant Washington, a proposed 850 mega-watt coal-fired power plant in Sandersville, GA
December 8, 2010 – Attorneys for GreenLaw, a nonprofit public interest law firm, acting on behalf of two citizens’ groups, Friends of the Chattahoochee (FOC) and the Sierra Club, Georgia Chapter, filed a petition today requesting a hearing to challenge the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) decision approving the construction of the largest new proposed coal-fired power plant in Georgia, Longleaf Energy Station. Longleaf is a project of New Jersey-based LS Power, which can sell the power to buyers anywhere in the U.S. and is not subject to regulation by Georgia’s Public Service Commission.
On June 2, an Administrative Law Judge dismissed an appeal filed by GreenLaw on behalf of Sierra Club and Friends of the Chattahoochee challenging the Longleaf Energy Station (Longleaf), further delaying this project that was first proposed in 2001. The dismissal came after the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) withdrew the permit amendments voluntarily, based on GreenLaw's challenges of May 10. EPD will now send the permit back out for public review. EPD has already set a new public hearing date to be held in Early County on July 1st.
On May 10, 2010, attorneys from GreenLaw and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), acting on behalf of seven citizens’ groups, filed petitions for hearings challenging permits for two major proposed coal-fired power plants in Georgia. In response to an unprecedented wave of permits issued by the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) in April, the groups are fighting back with important claims against the water and air pollution permits proposed for Plant Washington, to be built in Sandersville, and against the air pollution permit for Longleaf Energy Station, to be built in Early County.
Taxpayers in Washington County face serious risks and will likely not reap the financial and employment perks that supporters of the proposed Plant Washington are promising if the $2.1 billion coal-burning plant is built, according to an independent analysis released October 8 by the Ochs Center. That assessment provided by the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies, a Chattanooga, Tenn.- based non-profit research group, shows that prior projections of new revenue for Washington County from Plant Washington may be off the mark and County taxpayers may be left holding the bag for new infrastructure costs.
July 27, 2010 - A judge's ruling Monday in a Washington County power plant case will make it more difficult to pipe water from one Georgia water basin to another.
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May 20, 2009 - GreenLaw Executive Director Justine Thompson today commended the wisdom of four Georgia electric membership corporations (EMCs) for their decision to pull the plug on their partnership to build an 854 mega-watt coal-fired electric power plant in Washington County with a consortium of six other EMCs.
July 9, 2009 - Today GreenLaw attorneys representing the Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to the City of Dallas to stop repeated wastewater spills that are polluting a local creek that flows into the Etowah River near Cartersville. For over a decade two wastewater treatment plants operated by the City of Dallas in Paulding County have been in violation of state and federal water quality laws. Despite incurring fines totaling $246,000 levied by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) over the past five years, this suburban community, located 32 miles northwest of Atlanta, has refused to take action to prevent repeated sewage overflows into Pumpkinvine Creek, a tributary of the Etowah River in the Coosa River Basin.
August 13, 2008 - Attorneys for GreenLaw responded decisively to the proponents of an air pollution permit in a fight over health, air quality, and Georgia’s energy future that has become increasingly antagonistic. GreenLaw attorneys, representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club of Georgia, filed a response with the Court of Appeals to the Application for Discretionary Appeal that had been filed by Dynegy and the State of Georgia challenging the decision of the Fulton County Superior Court. GreenLaw’s response addressed misstatements and distortions in the briefs filed by Dynegy, EPD, and Georgia’s Chamber of Commerce.
June 18, 2008 - GreenLaw, Sierra Club and Friends of the Chattahoochee welcomed a call by New York City’s Comptroller for an investigation of taxpayer subsidies for risky, old-fashioned coal-burning electric power plants such as the Longleaf Energy Station (Longleaf). In a letter to the United States Treasury Department, New York Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. urged a review of policies that permit tax-exempt bonds to pay for dirty, coal-burning power plants.
March 31, 2008 - The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from GreenLaw on behalf of Sierra Club and the Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI), which seek to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require Georgia Power to clean up four of its power plants, including Plant Bowen (Bartow County) and Plant Scherer (Monroe County), which have been ranked as two of the dirtiest plants in the country and have been operating in violation of the Clean Air Act for over twenty years.
June 23, 2007 - The Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) and Sembler Atlanta, Inc. reached an agreement resolving two lawsuits that will provide for significant protection of sensitive lands in the Upper Etowah River Basin. The agreement requires that Sembler, developers of a large shopping center in Canton, pay $500,000 to the Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia to protect property in critical habitat areas for federally protected fish species.
January 23, 2007 - How do you keep a river healthy? Answer: you have to keep the streams that feed it free-flowing and clean. And that is just what GreenLaw—representing Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper and Altamaha Riverkeeper—has done by negotiating a settlement in their law suit filed against a Swainsboro developer in southeast Georgia.
August 5, 2005 - After a year of negotiation, Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) and S P Newsprint have reached an agreement that will reduce discharges of plastic in the Oconee River. The recycled newsprint company, located in Dublin, has agreed to construct and install new technology to reduce the plastic in its effluent.

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