Rivers of flowing water and active wildlife bring a sense of peace to mind. But that peace and beauty is too often threatened and needs to be protected. Environmental law attorney Don Stack of Stack & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia, fights for the protection of rivers.
Recently, he’s represented Ogeechee Riverkeeper, an organization that, like Stack, works to protect the environment. The issue at the center of this specific environmental law case is river water pollution that the plaintiff claims is responsible for the deaths of thousands of fish.
In May 2011, an estimated 38,000 river fish died in a section of the Ogeechee River, a loss that is called “the greatest fish kill in Georgia’s history.” With Stack’s representation, Ogeechee Riverkeeper argues that a textile plant called King America Finishing Inc. is largely to blame for river pollution and the loss of fish.
“You’ve got miles of healthy river, you’ve got the discharge pipe and then literally 50 yards downstream of the discharge pipe, you start seeing dead fish. You don’t need to have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a law degree to connect those dots,” Stack asserts. That connection, however, is not so clear to the defense that refers to an Environment Protection Agency memo suggesting that the fish ultimately died due to deadly bacteria in the water.
While bacteria may have killed the fish, a theory also suggests that problems with the river water might have left the fish more vulnerable to the bacteria.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division required King America Finishing to spend $1 million on environmentally friendly efforts for the river. But that’s wasn’t enough. Despite what seemingly was a win for the plaintiff in this water pollution case, Ogeechee Riverkeeper continues to fight against the textile mill. The organization is moving forward with a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit that would do more to try to stop the company from continuing with its status quo that is allegedly contaminating the river and killing fish.
We will post an update when there is an update in this case.
Source: Super Lawyers Blog, “Don Stack and Lee DeHihns III on opposite sides of the Ogeechee River,” Sept. 19, 2012