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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
An environmental advocate, Brockovich’s visit will raise funds and awareness for the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.