Further Delays for Longleaf Coal Fired Power Plant

Agency Implicitly Concedes Procedures Not Followed

On June 2, 2010, 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. In May 2010, GreenLaw challenged two permit amendments that Longleaf needed in order to begin construction of the massive coal plant proposed for Early County, Georgia. The dismissal came after the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) withdrew the permit amendments voluntarily.

EPD issued two permit amendments to Longleaf in April 2010, but failed to allow adequate public notice and comment on the amendments as required by state and federal law. Even though EPD sent draft permit amendments out for public comment in July 2009, the permit amendments issued in April 2010 were drastically different than those originally proposed.

Last week, EPD stated in documents filed with the court that it intends to re-send the permit amendments out for public comment. The dismissal has once again halted plans for the Longleaf Energy Station. The state has not announced when it anticipates sending the permit out for public comment.

"We are thrilled that EPD is acknowledging and the Court is affirming the needed public scrutiny of this massive project," stated Justine Thompson, Executive Director of GreenLaw.

"This dirty coal plant would forever impact the economic outlook and public health of our community," states Bobby McLendon, resident of Early County and President of Friends of the Chattahoochee. "We will have to live with the decisions that our government is making for the next fifty years and I have a right to make sure that that decision is not made lightly."

"Dependence on fossil fuels, whether it is drilling for oil or burning dirty coal, is dangerous and unnecessary," said Erin Glynn of the Sierra Club. "Georgia has not built a coal plant in over twenty years; why would we want to start now?," she asked. "The game has completely changed - coal ash waste, carbon pricing, uncertain demand, health risks, and financial uncertainty all make building a coal plant an unwise decision. Today's dismissal is not just a "start over." It is an opportunity for us to turn to the smart options of energy efficiency and renewables."

The 1200 mega-watt Longleaf plant would emit over 9 million tons of carbon dioxide each year and pull millions of gallons of water from the Chattahoochee River each day. EPD issued these permits at a time when citizens across the nation are actively questioning the safety, financial wisdom, and energy efficiency of generating electric power from burning pulverized coal. Plans to construct coal-burning plants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana have all recently been canceled.

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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 Updates via @GreenLaw_GA.

Friends of the Chattahoochee (FOC) seeks to protect the Chattahoochee River and the environment. A multi-state, non-profit organization that opposes any new industry that will adversely impact the Chattahoochee River watershed, it monitors existing industry to ensure that all environmental regulations and safeguards are being adhered to. For more information please reach Bobby McLendon, President, 229-308-6782. www.friendsofthechattahoochee.org

Sierra Club, the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States, has over 20,000 members and supporters in the state of Georgia. Erin Glynn, Regional Conservation Organizer, may be reached at (770) 598-6814. www.sierraclub.org