Environmentalists and governments, including here in Georgia, appear to agree on the importance of enforcing clean water laws, including the federal Clean Water Act. In one locality, Duke Energy has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit by paying $1 million in compensation for water pollution that it caused. The company owned a coal-fired nuclear power plant that discharged toxic heavy metals and pollutants into a nearby lake.
A little known environmental threat has come to the surface in another state, but the ominous message is one that must be kept in mind in Georgia as well. An earthquake that occurred there has been tied by scientists to ongoing corporate waste disposal practices in the area. A class action lawsuit has been filed there on behalf of residents who have been experiencing tremors for years. Recently, the area suffered a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which has created a unique interchange between environmental law and earthquake occurrences.
Last time we began looking at Georgia Power’s recent release of its plans to close a number of coal ash ponds. As we noted, the safety measures surrounding these closures have since generated concerns about the safety of the company’s plans.
In previous posts, we’ve looked at Georgia Power’s recent announcement of its plans to move forward with the closure of 29 coal ash pond sites. The plans, which are a response to federal regulations regarding coal ash disposal, have been criticized by the Southern Environmental Law Center and other environmentalists because of concerns about long-term toxic exposure of waterways.
Coal ash disposal is an important area of environmental concern here in Georgia. Because coal ash can be toxic to human populations, it is critical that it is carefully handled and disposed. Over 130 million tons of coal ash is produced every year in the United States, and is usually disposed by dumping it in bodies of water called coal ash ponds.
The federal Clean Water Act exists to protect water sources in the United States and to preserve the chemical and biological integrity of the sources of that water. The goal of the act is not only to preserve water as an accessible resource that people require but to also preserve the biological diversity of the country's ecosystems as a natural resource in its own right. This preservation helps with the continuation of traditional activities such as hunting and forestry as well as modern cultural, recreational, and commercial use of the resources.
In our previous post, we began looking at a water dispute involve the states of Florida and Georgia, which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue in the case is the state of Florida’s accusations that Georgia’s water use is having negative effects on water availability downstream.
Last time, we began speaking about the use of mediation in environmental disputes. As we noted in connection with the currently dispute between Florida and Georgia, going to court isn’t always the best way to resolve environmental disputes, particularly when there are a lot of factors at play and when more flexibility is needed to come up with long-term solutions.
A legal battle over access to precious water resources is currently underway in a dispute between the states of Florida and Georgia. At issue in the case is the Apalachicola-Cattahoochee-Flint River Basin, a watershed which supplies water to the states of Florida and Georgia, the parties involved in the dispute.