Monday, June 21, 2010

GreenLaw files protest on coal plant being built in Washington County

The News & Farmer & Wadley Herald

Lawyers with GreenLaw, along with eight other groups, filed petitions earlier this month in response to permits the Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued Plant Washington in April.

The plant will be a coal-fired energy plant in Washington County.

Power4Georgians said significant modifications to air and water standards were made to achieve the permits.

The permits issued by EPD for Plant Washington are a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit for air quality, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for water discharge, a groundwater withdrawal permit, a surface water withdrawal permit and a notice of site suitability for the solid waste handling facility, Power4Georgians stated.

Dean Alford, a spokesman for Power4Georgians stated we made significant and positive changes in our application to make our permits among the very best, if not the best, in the country & we responded to suggestions raised with regard to air and water and now have exceptional standards that far exceed the strictest federal regulations for protection of human health and the environment,” he said.

In a press release, Chandra Brown, executive director of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, an opponent of the plant, said the claims focus on the water and air pollution permits.

“The Plant Washington air permit fails to set safe limits on harmful air pollutants that would be emitted by Plant Washington, including sulfuric acid mist and particulate matter. Particulate matter is linked to respiratory illnesses, heart disease and even premature death,” the release stated.

Another issue is the state water withdrawal permit, which Brown stated fails to set necessary limits on the amount of water the plant can take from the Oconee River for use at the proposed plant located in the Ogeechee River watershed.

“Without adequate limits, communities such as Dublin, area farms and other downstream users along the Oconee River would be left without sufficient water resources,” she stated in the release.

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