Residents Concerned about Pollution from Proposed Biomass Facility

June 1, 2012: Lithonia, GA -- Today, GreenLaw submitted comments on behalf of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) on a proposed air pollution permit for a biomass facility in Lithonia. The facility proposes to burn wood waste, including left over materials from construction and demolition projects.

 

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2012 


For More Information Contact: 

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, GreenLaw, 404-659-3122
MaKara Rumley, GreenLaw, 404-659-0831
Deborah Jackson, CHASE, 404-534-6545

Lithonia, GA - Today, GreenLaw submitted comments on behalf of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) on a proposed air pollution permit for a biomass facility in Lithonia. The facility proposes to burn wood waste, including left over materials from construction and demolition projects.

“We vigorously oppose the siting of the biomass plant at this location for a number of reasons, but most importantly because this facility’s owner has failed to adequately document the amounts and types of emissions that will be generated by this plant,” said Deborah Jackson, Lithonia’s Mayor and a member of CHASE.

The facility will emit a large amount of air pollutants and toxics, including fine particulate matter, which can cause asthma and other health issues. According to the comments submitted by GreenLaw and CHASE, the facility has underestimated the amount of pollution that will be emitted.

“The facility should be required to go back to the drawing board and submit another application using the correct calculations,” said David Deganian, attorney at GreenLaw in Atlanta.

The opponents are also concerned that the facility is skirting regulations intended to protect area residents from air pollution. “We believe that this facility has not provided the information necessary to show that it should be permitted as a minor source of air pollution. If they can’t make that showing, EPD must permit it as a major source and regulate it as required by law,” continued Deganian.

The comments also highlight that the proposed facility is in an area already overly burdened by pollution sources, including three landfills, seven air pollution sites, a Superfund site and two toxic release sites within 3 miles of the proposed location. Further, Lithonia’s population is over 85% African American. GreenLaw recently released a report, Patterns of Pollution: A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta, which found that areas with large minority populations have more than double the number of pollution sources than areas where minorities make up less than 10 percent of the population.

“Before we start turning to untested and polluting sources of power production, we should work to increase the efficiency of our energy use,” said Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield, GreenLaw’s Executive Director. “From changing the way we heat and cool buildings to adopting new manufacturing processes and consumer products, energy efficiency is critical to our ability to meet Georgia’s future energy needs.”

The comments and information from the Patterns of Pollution report are available on GreenLaw’s website.

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GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. GreenLaw achieves these goals by providing free high quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. www.greenlaw.org 

Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) is a group of citizens in DeKalb County, Georgia, in the Atlanta metropolitan area, committed to environmental justice and protecting our environment and our health. http://www.freewebs.com/chase-dekalb/

- See more at: http://www.green-law.org/info/99248?eventid=97418#sthash.w7e9MsCf.dpuf