Ogeechee River Pollution Permit Fatally Flawed

The Ogeechee Riverkeeper plans to challenge the permit issued yesterday by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) that allows King America Finishing to continue dumping flame-retardant chemicals into the river.

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2013
 
For More Information Contact:
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, GreenLaw, 404-659-3122
Hutton Brown, GreenLaw, 404-659-3122
Emily Markesteyn, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, 866-942-6222x1
Don Stack, Stack and Associates, 404-525-920

Ogeechee River Pollution Permit Fatally Flawed

Statesboro, GA – The Ogeechee Riverkeeper plans to challenge the permit issued yesterday by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) that allows King America Finishing to continue dumping flame-retardant chemicals into the river.
 
In May of 2011, King America’s unlawful pollution into the Ogeechee River caused one of the worst fish kills in Georgia’s history when over 38,000 fish died downriver of the company’s discharge pipe.  The problem has persisted with a smaller fish kill occurring in 2012.
 
The permit issued yesterday fails to adequately protect the river.  Many of the pollutants responsible for the fish kill, plus other potentially harmful chemicals, will still be discharged.
 
“The state continues to fail to protect the river and the people who use it from toxic pollution,” said Emily Markesteyn, Ogeechee Riverkeeper.  “The pollution permit issued allows King America to dump unacceptable amounts of algae-causing nutrients and toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia and flame retardants into the river.”
 
Ogeechee Riverkeeper, represented by GreenLaw and Stack and Associates, is currently involved in a legal battle to protect the fragile Blackwater River from this major source of industrial pollution.
 
”We are very concerned that this permit will allow King America to continue the conditions that led to the fish kill in the first place,” said Hutton Brown, GreenLaw..  “There are methods to reduce or eliminate the pollutants of concern which have not been required. We will continue to pursue the appropriate legal avenues with Ogeechee Riverkeeper to restore our ability to safely use the river.”
 
Don Stack of Stack and Associates encourages people to continue to express their frustrations with the state’s failure to clean up the river. 
 
“It is imperative that people send comments to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division asking them to stop the pollution of the Ogeechee River,” Stack said.  “The pollution permit issued to King America is not strong enough to guarantee our children’s ability to swim and eat fish from the river.”
 
A public hearing on the permit will be held on May 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm at Effingham High School in Springfield, GA.  Comments may be submitted to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division by May 15, 2013.  The may be submitted to epdcomments@dnr.state.ga.us
 
The permit and background information are available at www.greenlaw.org/fishkill .

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Ogeechee Riverkeeper is dedicated to protecting, preserving and improving the water quality of the Ogeechee River Basin. To accomplish this goal, Ogeechee Riverkeeper strives to amplify the voices of concerned citizens and strengthen their efforts to protect their rivers and their communities. www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.http://www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org
 
GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. Since 1992, GreenLaw has achieved these goals by providing free high quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.greenlaw.org and follow @greenlaw_GA on Twitter.
 
Stack and Associates, P.C. is a unique law firm. Founded in 1993 through the vision of Donald D.J. Stack, the firm focuses on environmental work, representing individuals, citizens’ organizations and neighborhood associations in their efforts to protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of this state as well as their own individual properties from the ever growing number of assaults on those treasures. www.stackenvirolaw.com