‘Dirty Dozen’ focuses more on regs than rivers

[private]The “Dirty Dozen” list annually compiled by the Georgia Water Coalition used to be primarily a list of the state’s most environmentally challenged waterways.

This year’s version of the list widens its focus a bit and concentrates more on what the Coalition sees as the failures of federal and state regulators to protect water quality.

“This report shows how changing policy in Washington, D.C. is having real pollution impacts in Georgia communities,” said Joe Cook of the Coosa River Basin Initiative in Rome.

“Couple those changes with continued lackluster funding for state clean water programs, and you have a one-two punch that, if not a knockout, has some of our rivers and lakes on the ropes,” Cook added.

In Washington, Donald Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, a global warming denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt’s emphasis has been on rolling back clean water regulations and narrowing the definition of which waterways the EPA regulates, Cook noted.

“At the state level, funding for the Environmental Protection Division remains poor,” Cook said. “Beyond the lack of funding is the lack of political will at the state level to enforce our clean water laws.”

The Dirty Dozen list includes:

• Altamaha River, Jesup/Wayne County: Continuing pulp mill pollution.
• Coosa River, Rome/Floyd County: EPA halts clean water rules so as to enable power plants to keep sending toxic discharges into the river.
• Coosa River, Rome/Floyd County: EPD’s lack of funding keep it from conducting pollution studies and delays river cleanup plan.
• Georgia’s Public Health: Legislators divert funds intended for clean community programs.
• Georgia’s Streams and Rivers: Legislators stall action to protect vulnerable Georgia streams.
• Georgia’s Well Water: Disposal of coal ash at municipal landfills threatens drinking water.
• Georgia’s Wetlands: EPA efforts to weaken clean water act leave streams, wetlands without protections.
• Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville/Baldwin, Putnam, Hancock counties: Coal ash pond cleanups send toxins into reservoir.
• Savannah River,m Savannah/Chatham County: Natural gas facility poses risk to Savannah, U.S. energy independence.
• Savannah River, Waynesboro/Burke County: Plant Vogtle nuclear projecgt harms rivers, ratepayers and taxpayers.
• Terry Creek, Brunswick, Glynn County: Toxic cleanup plan leaves Brunswick residents at risk.
• Whitewater Creek, Butler, Oglethorpe and Montezuma/Taylor and Macon counties: Private reservoir proposal tries to tap into state dollars.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Dirty Dozen list , Georgia Water Coalition