Press Room

Media Contact: Justine Thompson, Executive Director, at 404-659-3122. After hours when needing information to meet a deadline, please contact Anne Harper, Marketing and Communications Director, at 404-242-5999 (mobile).

DNR Allows Delay of Pollution Controls on Aging Coal Plant

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.

Water Permit Settlement Reached on Proposed Coal Plant

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.

Court Rules Against LS Power’s Longleaf Coal-fired Power 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.

Citizens to Hold DeKalb County Accountable After Years of Dumping

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.

EPA Rule Rejects More Pollution from Smokestacks in Alabama

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.

Hearing to Identify Flaws in Longleaf Coal-fired Power Plant Permit

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.

GreenLaw Urges Stronger Action to Protect Water Quality

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.

Financial Concerns about Coal Plants Spread as Cobb EMC Chief Dwight Brown Is Indicted

January 7, 2011 – Environmental organizations across the state were not surprised to learn that Dwight Brown, the Chief Executive of Cobb EMC and the organizer of
Power4Georgians, has been indicted by the Cobb County District Attorney for theft and
racketeering. Cobb EMC has already been embroiled in litigation questioning the EMC's
financial accountability to its members. Questions had also been raised about Cobb
EMC’s involvement in the proposed construction of two coal-fired power plants which
could cost over $4 billion. As CEO of Cobb EMC and of Cobb Energy, Brown organized
Power4Georgians, a corporation with five other EMCs, to build and operate the two coalfired
plants, Plant Washington and Plant Ben Hill.

Court rules GA failed to set safe limits on pollutants from coal plant

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

Legal Challenge Questions Largest “Minor” Coal Plant

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.

Final Oral Arguments On New Coal-Fired Power Plant Permit

November 12, 2010 – On November 18, 2010, Judge Ronit Walker will hear final oral arguments in the challenge to an air quality permit issued for Plant Washington, an 850 MW coal-fired power plant proposed near Sandersville, Georgia. The hearing will be held in the Office of State Administrative Hearings at 230 Peachtree Street, NW. GreenLaw and the Southern Environmental Law Center represent the petitioners.

Court Rules Plant Washington Water Permits are Invalid

July 26, 2010 — Public interest groups have won a key legal challenge to two state water permits for the proposed 850-megawatt Plant Washington coal-fired power plant in Sandersville, GA. A Georgia administrative court has ruled that the water withdrawal and water pollution discharge permits issued by Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for the proposed power plant are both legally flawed.

More Questions Raised about Coal-Fired Power Plant

July 1, 2010 - Amid continuing community opposition, the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) will conduct yet another public hearing on July 1 at the Early County High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on the permit proposed for the Longleaf Energy Station (Longleaf). Many doubts about the financial impact and viability of the plant as well as its environmental impact have been raised since this project was first proposed by New Jersey-based LS Power in 2001.

EMCs Unplug from Coal-Fired Plant Deal

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.

Lawsuit Seeks to Prevent Destruction of Public Records

April 1, 2009 - GreenLaw filed a lawsuit to protect our right to access public records kept by the government and thus ensure government transparency and openness essential to the fairness and due process of our legal system. The lawsuit asks the Superior Court of Fulton County to order the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to produce previously requested documents and to enjoin the EPD “from destroying emails and other public records in violation of the Georgia Open Records Act.”

LS Power to Continue Early County Longleaf Coal-fired Plant Without Dynegy

January 5, 2009 - Dynegy, Inc., one of the nation’s main merchant coal energy producers, announced that it was pulling out of its agreement with New-Jersey-based LS Power to build the Longleaf Energy Station proposed for Early County, Georgia. LS Power, however, maintains that it will continue to seek the pollution permits necessary to construct the plant as planned.

Challenge to Coal-fired Power Plant Moves to Court of Appeals

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.

Public Health and Global Warming Concerns Prevail over Profits

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.

Fulton Judge Considers Coal-Fired Power Plant Permit Case

June 2, 2008 - On Tuesday, June 3rd, Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore heard arguments in Fulton County Superior Court as to whether new coal-fired plants, like the proposed Longleaf plant, must regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. The court is reconsidering the state Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) decision to issue an air pollution permit to Dynegy for its Longleaf plant in Early County, near Albany. The permit failed to address CO2, which is the leading cause of global warming. A decision is expected by July 3, 2008.

Court to Hear Arguments on Nation's Dirtiest 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.

Challenge to Coal-fired Power Plant Moves to Superior Court

February 11, 2008 - Today environmental groups took the next steps to protect Georgians from the harmful air and global warming pollution that would be emitted by Dynegy’s proposed Longleaf coal-fired power plant. GreenLaw attorneys, representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club of Georgia, appealed a recent court decision affirming a permit Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) granted to Dynegy/Longleaf to build a coal-fired power plant in southwest Georgia.

Despite Health Concerns, Coal Plant Permit Affirmed by Judge

January 11, 2008 - First Coal-Fired Power Plant Approved in over Twenty Years in Georgia. Read more on the OSAH Decision on the Dynegy Longleaf Air Pollution Permit.

Judge Delays Ruling in Coal-Fired Power Plant Trial

December 20, 2007 – Administrative Law Judge Stephanie Howells issued an order today delaying her ruling to affirm or reverse the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) decision to issue an air quality permit to Dynegy’s Longleaf Energy Station. Judge Howells cited the complexity of the case and the size of the record as the reason for the delay; she will deliver her ruling no later than January 11. If you are a reporter needing up-to-the-minute information, please call Anne Harper at 404-242-5999 (m).

Coal-Fired Power Plant Permit Puts Georgian's Lives & Health at Risk

November 29, 2007 - GreenLaw attorneys representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club delivered closing arguments today urging the court to force the Environmental Protection Division to protect citizens, not corporate interests in their challenge to the Dynegy/Longleaf permit allowing a 1200 megawatt coal-fired power to be built in Early County on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus. Judge Stephanie Howells is expected to hand down her decision before the end of the year.

Court Weighs Legality of Coal-Fired Power Plant Permit

October 30, 2007 - GreenLaw attorneys representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club completed a lengthy, 20-day hearing challenging the air pollution permit that Longleaf Energy Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of Dynegy, a Texas energy company, obtained from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to build a 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Early County on the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus.

Decision on Construction of Coal Plant Looms

October 22, 2007 - Attorneys for GreenLaw return to the court room of Judge Stephanie Howells for the final week of a two-month trial challenging the permit obtained by a Texas energy company to build a 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus.

Environmentalists Halt Construction of Coal Plant

June 13, 2007 - Citizens from around the state demonstrated their opposition today to the building of yet another coal-fired power plant in Georgia. The plant will add to the already high level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that pollute the air in this state. The case against this proposed plant is among the first legal challenges to power plant emissions since the historic Supreme Court decision in April requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming.

Environmental Legal Organization Changes Name

August 15, 2007 - The Board of Directors of GreenLaw announced that the fifteen-year old organization is changing its name to GreenLaw, Inc. Founded in 1992 by a small group of dedicated lawyers, this organization has effectively challenged industry and government actions that have degraded Georgia’s environment for many years.

Canton Marketplace lawsuit leads to $500,000 settlement for the protection of Etowah River, endangered species

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.

Lawsuit Filed to Force Georgia Power to Comply with Emissions Standards

April 6, 2007 - GreenLaw filed a lawsuit in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Sierra Club and the Coosa River Basin Initiative seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to require Georgia Power to clean up its Plant Scherer, which has been operating in violation of the Clean Air Act for over twenty years.

Lawsuit Filed to Force EPA to Close Loophole on State Emissions’ Standards Rule

April 30, 2007 - GreenLaw filed its second lawsuit within a month in federal court seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into much-needed action—this time to stop awarding industrial polluters illegal exemptions from emissions standards. The EPA has known, but not acted upon, the flaw in Georgia’s air pollution rules since at least 2005.

Lawsuit Settlement Sends Message to Developers to Obey the Law

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.

The Oconee River Wins

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.