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.
As we noted, one of the major concerns of environmentalists is that Georgia Power has not committed to ensuring coal ash ponds are lined before their closure to prevent long-term toxic leakage. This is not required by federal law.
As it is, existing coal ash waste is allowed by state law to remain in place, and there is no requirement that coal ash ponds be excavated or retrofitted with a bottom liner before they are closed. The state Environmental Protection Division, environmentalists hoped, would move to pass a proposed amendment addressing this issue last month, but this did not happen.
The Southern Environmental Law Center reportedly plans to continue fighting for stricter requirements on the matter of lining coal ash ponds. The long-term consequences of toxic exposure that could result are not clear, of course, and the coal industry unlikely to get on board with a philosophy of “better safe than sorry.”
Those who are harmed by toxic exposure, whether from coal ash or other industrial toxin exposure, deserve to have an advocate at their side to guide them through their options, defend their rights, and advocate their interests in the legal process.