Clean Air News
The Green Energy biomass plant proposed for Lithonia received its air quality permit to operate from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division on April 26.
The 23-page permit said that “at all times, including periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction, the Permittee shall maintain and operate this source, including associated air pollution control equipment, in a manner consistent with good air pollution control practice for minimizing emissions.”
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.
CrossRoadsNews, June 15, 2012: In comments filed to the EPD on Green Energy Partners application for an air permit to operate the facility, GreenLaw and Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) said the developer underestimated the amount of pollution the $60 million plant will emit.
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.
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.
Updates on the proposed biomass facility near Lithonia, GA
Comments were submitted by GreenLaw to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) on behalf of Fall-Line Alliance for Clean Environment, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Sierra Club, opposing the issuance of a Title V Air Permit for Plant Wansley. Concerns cited include the failure to define ownership of the units, and to include all sources of air pollution on the site.
UPDATE: On March 20th, the PSC approved the decertification (retirement) of Plant Branch Units 1 and 2. GreenLaw has let the Georgia Public Service Commission know that Georgia Power isn't going far enough by retiring two aging coal-fired units at Plant Branch near Milledgeville. Georgia Power has proposed the retirement of Plant Branch Units 1 and 2. Based on Georgia Power’s own analysis, additional pollution controls that are required to meet public health standards would render the operation of these units uneconomical. However, Georgia Power is requesting that the PSC approve four power purchase agreements to add a total of 1,562 MWs to its portfolio but is simultaneously deferring the decision to retire several other coal units that are old and uneconomical. Even Georgia Power admits that this would create excess capacity.
December 21, 2011: A consortium of environmental groups has filed another appeal of the state air permit for a new coal-fired power plant planned near Sandersville.Plant Washington, being built by a group of electric cooperatives called POWER4Georgians, has a price tag of about $2 billion.
December 19, 2011 -The state air quality permit for Plant Washington, a proposed 850 mega-watt coal-fired power plant in Sandersville, GA, does not meet national public health standards that even 50 year old coal-fired power plants already meet, according to a court challenge filed today by GreenLaw and other groups.
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.
GreenLaw submitted comments to the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency opposing the re-issuance Title V Air Pollution Permit for Plant Scherer, a coal fired power plant located near Macon, GA. Plant Scherer is Georgia Power Company’s largest coal-fired facility and is one of the nation's largest emitters of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants in the nation.
October 7, 2011: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says this week’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over the cross state air pollution rule is one of several challenges already in the works. The regulations target pollution from coal power plants.
Olens says power companies don’t have enough time to comply. But environmental lawyer Kurt Ebersbach with GreenLaw says the rules have been expected for years.
August 1 2011: EPD issued a final permit for Longleaf following the remand that occurred in April. You can find the narrative for the permit here, and the final permit here. Because the ALJ maintained jurisdiction over the permit during the remand, no appeal is needed for the case to proceed. As such, the permit challenge is back before Judge Howells.
August 29, 2011 - After successfully challenging the air quality permit for Plant Washington, the state was forced to revise the permit. The state environmental agency redrafted the permit, and GreenLaw submitted extensive comments on the air permit in our efforts to continue to hold the line against this ill-advised coal plant.
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.
National organizations released a report detailing the hazards of coal ash waste across the country. Their conclusions for Georgia? Although near the top in volume of coal ash stored, Georgia's regulations are so weak - with almost nonexistent monitoring requirements - that state regulators do not even know the risk facing our citizens.
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.
On April 8 and 9, the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued six approvals to two coal-fired power plants, the Longleaf Energy Station in Early County, southwest Georgia, and Plant Washington, in Sandersville, Georgia near Macon.
By Joseph E. Lowery
January 17, 2010 - “Somehow the forces of justice stand on the side of the universe, so that you can’t ultimately trample over God’s children and profit by it.” — Martin Luther King Jr., “The Birth of a New Nation,” April 7, 1957
I believe that [King] would be crying out against any coal-fired plants, rising anew or already operating, because they spew dangerous pollutants into the air and drain our precious waters. I believe he would be a mighty force in convincing us that coal plants are no longer needed in our beloved Georgia — or anywhere else.
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.
Click here to read more.
The Georgia Open Records Act (GORA), which allows citizens to inspect all public records, is the cornerstone of good government. It allows citizens to know whether their tax dollars are properly spent and, in the context of the environment, whether the government is adequately protecting citizens from harmful pollution. That is why GreenLaw was dismayed to discover that the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) may have been destroying emails pertaining to the construction of new coal-fired power plants that have the potential to emit millions of tons of harmful pollutants.
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.
7/16/2008 - GreenLaw Executive Director Justine Thompson - special to the AJC
At GreenLaw, we call June 30, the day of Judge Moore's decision, "the day the lights came on in Georgia," because the most important light bulb we can turn on is the one in our heads that makes the connection between the energy we use and where it comes from. That's illumination.
June 30, 2008 – Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore issued a decision today effectively halting construction of the first coal-fired power plant proposed in Georgia in over 20 years. The decision overturns an administrative court’s ruling that affirmed the state Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) decision to issue an air pollution permit for Dynegy’s Longleaf plant. In practical terms, Dynegy cannot begin construction of the plant unless it can obtain a valid permit from EPD that complies with the Court’s ruling. The Judge held that EPD must limit the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the plant, a decision that will have far-reaching implications nationwide; this is the first time since the April 2, 2007, Supreme Court decision finding that CO2 is a pollutant that a court has held that the Clean Air Act requires that CO2 from industrial sources be limited.
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.
View the Title V Handbook, a great resource for informing citizens about the Title V Air Pollution process.