Sierra Club says it will sue Ga.Power over draining of coal ash ponds

[private]The Sierra Club said it will sue Georgia Power over the utility’s plans to drain its coal ash ponds at 11 power plant sites unless the company gets updated permits from state and federal environmental agencies.

“Georgia Power’s dewatering activities are already resulting in unauthorized and toxic point source discharges to Georgia state waters,” the organization said in a July 24 letter to Georgia Power President Paul Bowers.

“The Company’s plan to dewater the rest of its coal ash impoundments will inevitably cause more violations,” the letter said. “Coal ash waste is widely known to contain harmful pollutants, including heavy metals, which can cause harm to human health and the environment.”

Georgia Power announced last year it would stop operating all 29 of its coal ash ponds and remove the ash from 16 ponds located near lakes and rivers to keep the substance from contaminating groundwater.

“Georgia Power is in full compliance with all environmental regulations, which are enforced by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and we will vigorously defend against any allegation to the contrary,” said company spokesman Jacob Hawkins.

“Throughout our ash pond closure process, we are going above and beyond regulatory requirements to protect Georgia’s water quality,” Hawkins said.

The Sierra Club said it wanted to stop Georgia Power from draining wastewater from any of these ponds into the state’s waterways.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to drain millions of gallons of coal ash wastewater into waterways without making certain there’s no risk to communities who fish, swim, and drink from these waters,” said Stephen Stetson.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: coal ash ponds , Georgia Power , Sierra Club