Coal ash, the waste leftover from burning coal, is toxic. Coal ash has harmful metals, like mercury and arsenic, and other dangerous chemicals. These chemicals become even more dangerous when they enter our water supplies.
Recent disasters spilled toxic coal ash into rivers and across people’s land in the southeast. On top of these high profile spills, pollution monitoring conducted by power companies shows that these unlined pits leak and contaminate groundwater. So now, electric utilities are moving millions of tons of this waste to lined landfills to get them out of old, leaky unlined ponds. But a new loophole in Georgia means that local communities – not utilities or large waste management companies – must pay the price & deal with pollution from coal ash storage. Georgia’s community landfills are becoming the dumping ground for this toxic waste. The problem is about to get worse. Why? Last year, Georgia’s legislature created a new loophole that makes our state even more attractive for dumping toxic coal ash. Local governments can now charge private landfill operators $2.50 for every ton of regular household garbage dumped. But the legislature carved out an exception for coal ash: the surcharge for coal ash is only $1 per ton. This cheaper rate for toxic coal ash creates an incentive for private landfill companies to fill landfills with toxic coal ash. Worse, this loophole means that out-of-state coal ash is not only welcome, but encouraged. And who pays the real price? Local communities that are missing out on much-needed funds to offset the effects of having a toxic coal ash dump next door. Georgia’s leaders can fix this problem by raising the surcharge for coal ash dumping. Send an email today to Governor Kemp, Lt Governor Duncan and your GA Rep and Senator and ask them to vote YES on SB 123. Send a note using a tool from the Georgia Water Coalition: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/coal-ash.html#/124/
HB 545 “The Right to Farm” bill was tabled today which means that it still lives and could crossover for a vote in the senate. Please continue to call your legislators to oppose this bill. Here’s an explainer.
We’ve also copied here an op-ed from a 6th generation family farmer in South Georgia and his explanation of how this affects family farms.