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Atlanta Environmental Law Blog

What can you do if your employer is breaking environmental laws?

Not everyone cares equally about the environment. However, federal environmental laws require all companies to adhere to certain environmental standards—regardless of an employer’s personal priorities. Nonetheless, oftentimes employers—deliberately or not—fail to uphold environmental standards in their business operations.

Let’s say you’re a factory worker at a paper mill. One night after your shift, you notice workers removing pulping sludge from the facility and dumping it in a nearby river. You fish in that river. Your community relies on it for fresh, drinking water. As an employee relatively low on the totem pole, what recourse do you have?

The danger of inert chemicals in pesticides

As an agricultural producer, Georgia ranks fifteenth in the nation, leading the U.S. in production of broilers, peanuts, spring onions and pecans. Georgia’s subtropical climate is perfectly suited for an array of crops, but also ideal for pests. Adding to the pest problem are the international seaports and airports, which bring in additional harmful species.

Pesticide categories

Is the drinking water in Georgia’s schools safe?

Flint, Michigan sparked awareness for clean drinking water across the nation. The dark-colored water caused by lead and copper that residents began to drink in 2014 started movements in Michigan and throughout the country to make safe drinking water accessible to everyone.

Georgia was found to be among states with the least-safe drinking water by the National Resources Defense Council’s most recent report in 2015. Hundreds of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act discovered in the same report put the state in fifth place for most violations in the country. Even though this report was from three years ago, lead-contaminated water is still being discovered, especially in schools.

Do you know the ingredients of a good EMS?

Have you ever seen a sign on the side of a building declaring the business is ISO certified? Ever wonder what it means? The designation first came on the radar of this author around the time of the turn of the century in connection with the so-called Y2K bug. That was the worry that computer systems could crash on a global scale at the turn over to Jan. 1, 2000.

Those concerns were largely overblown. Perhaps one reason why is because so many companies took the precaution of auditing their systems following standards established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Today, there are ISO standards for all sorts of issues, including environmental management systems (EMS).

What is a wetland and why do you need to care?

With more than 7.7 million acres of wetlands in Georgia, landowners and users need to know what a wetland is and what can happen if work is commenced without knowledge of the law.

Any time you move earth to alter the drainage pattern of land, wetland regulations and permitting should come to mind. Penalties for wetland violations can be costly, and involve daily fines, restoration costs, and even criminal prosecution. If you participate in federal programs, any cost sharing or payments received will have to be repaid to the government agency.

What will new coal ash self-regulation permits mean for Georgia?

On June 18, 2018, Oklahoma was granted the country’s first permit to self-regulate coal ash by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Coal ash is produced by burning coal, and it contains the carcinogenic toxins lead, arsenic and mercury.

Coal ash was previously regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, which used federal regulatory laws to govern its disposal. With the change in oversight, the state is now in charge of coal ash regulation and can create its own rules regarding it. Environmental activists believe the federal regulations are not strong enough regarding coal ash, and Oklahoma has not done a proper job of providing oversight on these regulations.

Zoning issues can stall projects

Starting a new project here in the Atlanta area may provide a sense of excitement, but it also provides numerous tasks and potential obstacles that require attention. For instance, zoning issues can be particularly tricky to deal with, especially if a request to rezone the property is contemplated. Issues could arise that may stall or even stop a project before it even has a chance to get off the ground.

For instance, a developer wanted to build an apartment complex here in Georgia, but the property needed to be rezoned for the project to move forward. Currently, the property is zoned for commercial use, and the request was to change that to multi-family residential. After hearing a presentation from the developer, the City Council in the area where the complex was to be built never even considered the request.

Business relationships matter in real estate development

In today's political and economic climate, growth is a critical goal facing both municipalities and private industry. It is a prominent expectation given the increase in the Savannah metro area's increasing job base and demand for quality housing.

The new residential community Mosby Lakeside is example of real estate developers and community leaders coming together to meet such an expectation. According to a recent report, the new project will be an apartment complex with 316 units consisting of one, two and three bedroom residences.

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Phone: 404-692-7504
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