EPD Issues Six Coal Plant Permits

Update July 1, 2014: In 2010, the Georgia 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. That was quickly followed by Ben Hill plant. Two the the plants including Longleaf have been defeated. Plant Wasington is still pending depsite continued efforts to defeat the effort.

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.  Citizens have only 30 days to respond all six appeals. GreenLaw is looking for volunteers who can perform administrative work to help meet the May 10 deadline, as well as help over the next four months of intense litigation that these permits have triggered.


Despite being charged with protecting citizens and encouraging public participation in its decision-making processes, EPD chose to issue extensive permits on the state’s two major coal-fired power plants within a day of each other; five permits are for Plant Washington and one is Longleaf’s emissions of hazardous air pollutants. This unprecedented schedule creates a serious challenge to citizens seeking to examine the permits carefully for their consequences and to respond.

Together, these two plants would add 9,000 pounds of mercury to the air in Georgia over the life of the coal plants. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and even small amounts can render fish in our rivers unsuitable for human consumption. These plants also will emit thousands of tons of pollutants known to cause respiratory illnesses like asthma and even premature death from heart attacks.

These two plants would also emit a staggering 750 million tons of carbon dioxide over their lifetime, which would add more of this global warming gas to our atmosphere. At a time when world leaders are taking aggressive steps to address climate change, and when coal plants are being cancelled across the country, Georgia’s leaders are moving in the opposite direction.