Environmentalists are backing a plan in the Georgia legislature they say could protect the Suwannee River Basin from toxic coal ash pollution.
Georgia lawmakers are considering a raft of bills that would create new regulations for disposal of the ash that’s left over after coal is burned for energy. Suwannee River Keeper John Quarterman says right now the practice is not carefully governed.
“The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has ‘guidelines.’ But as I mentioned, coal ash has shown up in landfills without the locals knowing anything about it because there’s no law that says anything has to be done about it,” Quaterman says.
The measures would require utilities to obtain certain permits before discharging wastewater filled with coal ash and would require landfills to implement various safeguards to protect against coal ash contamination.