Enviros release their latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

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A group of the state’s leading environmental organizations, the Georgia Water Coalition, has released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of what it considers the most serious pollution threats to the state’s waterways.

“It’s a list of problems that exemplify the results of inadequate funding for environmental protections, lack of political will to enforce environmental laws and ultimately misguided water planning and spending priorities that flow from the very top of Georgia’s leadership,” said Joe Cook, executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative.

The coalition’s list of trouble spots includes:

  • Floridan Aquifer: Water injection proposals could threaten this underground water supply.
  • Chattahoochee and Etowah Rivers: Governor’s Water Supply Program would use tax funds to impound reservoirs.
  • Flint River: Pumps, dams, diversions and state water policy create man-made drought.
  • Altamaha River: Pulp mill in Jesup affects Georgia’s largest river.
  • Flat Creek: Polluted runoff from chicken processing facilities sends bacteria to stream feeding Lake Lanier.
  • Ocmulgee River: Coal ash threatens waterways and communities.
  • Satilla River: Toxic problems in Waycross need further investigations, cleanups.
  • Savannah River: Water withdrawals for nuclear, coal-fired power plants threaten river’s health.
  • Lake Alice: Dam breach in Cumming highlights need for better dam safety.
  • Georgia Coast: Proposed changes to coastline laws roll back long-standing protections.
  • Hurricane Creek: Use of off-road vehicles sends mountains of sediment to trout stream.
  • Oconee and Ogeechee Rivers: Coal-Fired power plant will emit mercury and deplete South Georgia rivers.

“Funding for the most cost-effective alternatives for growing the state’s water supply — water conservation and efficiency measures — has languished,” said Sally Bethea, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.

“During the past seven years, the state has spent an average of $11 million annually to aid local communities in using their water more effectively — about six percent of what the Deal Administration has spent on high-cost, high-risk, speculative water supply projects in just two years,” Bethea said.

Coincidentally, the coalition’s list was released just a few weeks before the state Board of Natural Resources was scheduled to vote on new regulations that would ease state regulation of large hog farms, a potential source of water pollution problems.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Dirty Dozen , Georgia Water Coalition , Joe Cook , pollution , Sally Bethea