Rayonier Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida-based logging company, is reportedly facing litigation in connection with one of its factories in southeast Georgia. According to the complaint, filed in late March by the Altamaha Riverkeeper, the company routinely dumps waste into the Altamaha River from its Jesup mill without taking steps to come into compliance with anti-pollution laws.
In particular, the Riverkeeper alleges the company dumps between 50 million and 60 million gallons of polluted waste per day, and that this prevents local residents from swimming or fishing because of the pollution and disruption to the river’s natural state.
According to the company’s general counsel, over $70 million has been spent on limiting the plant’s waste dumping into the Altamaha River and that the company is not in violation of any state environmental regulations. According to sources, the company was involved in a settlement agreement in 2011 which required installation of equipment that limits discoloration of waste dumped into the river.
When a company fails to be a good steward of the environment and causes harm to waterways, individuals affected by the contamination are able to seek enforcement of environmental laws under the federal Clean Water Act, which is the primary federal law dealing with water contamination. The law imposes various restrictions on companies regarding discharges, water quality and thermal pollution.
For those who have been harmed by a company’s anti-environmental approach to business and manufacturing, it is important to understand their rights and how to hold the company accountable. Doing so with the help of an experienced attorney ensures the best possible result in the case.
Source: Statesboroherald.com, “Lawsuit: Factory pollutes Altamaha River,” Ray Henry, April 14, 2014.