Federal judge says Ogeechee pollution lawsuit can proceed

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A lawsuit alleging the illegal pollution of the Ogeechee River will be allowed to move forward in the federal court system, a judge ruled this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of Brunswick refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed last year by the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, which alleges that the King America Finishing textile plant violated state law and the federal Clean Water Act by discharging chemicals into the river.

“We are glad that the court has allowed this important case to proceed,” said Hutton Brown, an attorney at GreenLaw. “The federal court has broad powers to remedy the substantial wrong that has occurred here and we will pursue that remedy to the fullest.”

The federal case stems from a massive fish kill that occurred two years ago in the river that flows through southeast Georgia.

An estimated 38,000 fish died in that incident and the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) later determined that King America, which operates a textile plant in Screven County, had been discharging wastewater into the river without a permit.

King America agreed to pay $1 million in environmental improvements to resolve violations compiled by the EPD, a penalty that environmental groups said was not severe enough.

The EPD later issued a discharge permit to King America that was subsequently revoked. A revised permit has yet to be issued.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Greenlaw , illegal pollution , King America , Lisa Godbey Wood , Ogeechee River , Ogeechee Riverkeeper , U.S. District Court