Environmental Bills in State Legislature This Week – Call to Action

Toxic Coal Ash and Water Protection HB 176
Making sure that the toxins in coal ash stay out of Georgia’s water has been a top priority for several years. Last year Georgia Water Coalition successfully advocated for the passage of and the governor signed legislation that will discourage out of state coal ash from filling up our solid waste landfills. Now we are very focused on ensuring the long term storage of coal ash is done correctly and protects Georgia’s waters. More than 50 million tons of this waste is proposed to be left in unlined pits along major rivers. This is unacceptable. We are pursuing legislation that will require excavation of coal ash from unlined pits and safe disposal in permitted, lined landfills that keep this toxic waste away from our groundwater and surface water resources.On Thursday, 1/28, clean water champions Reps. Buckner, Williams. Oliver, Clark, and Dreyer introduced HB 176, which recognizes coal ash can transport dangerous heavy metals to our waterways and would require that it be disposed of in lined, permitted solid waste landfills. We need such legislation before the state Environmental Protection Division approves weak permits allowing permanent storage in unlined pits in our groundwater and by our rivers.Status: HB 176 has been assigned to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.What you can do: Contact your legislators and ask them to support HB 176 and other legislation to move coal ash away from our water resources. https://www.protectgeorgia.org/coal-ash.html#/260/
*Thanks to our friends at the Georgia Water Coalition

Last week, we posted a call to action regarding HB150 and SB102 which are being pushed by the utility industry, that take away the rights of local governments to adopt building codes and other policies affecting the type of energy used in homes and businesses. HB 150 & SB 102 have been introduced in 11 other states, mostly in the South and would mandate continued reliance on fossil fuels even where local governments have committed to transitioning to more clean energy. mpact the way buildings are powered, our public health, prevents hometowns from being able to transition away from antiquated, gas-powered buildings to modern, electric-powered building codes, and makes any city’s commitment to 100% clean energy very difficult to achieve. Learn more about this bill using the Sierra Club’s explainer and then take action to contact legislators (with thanks to Daniel Blackman for this post).

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