The 2021 Legislative Session is well under way. While CRBI is not traveling to the Capitol in person this year due to Covid restrictions, we are still actively promoting clean water with lawmakers across the state in conjunction with the Georgia Water Coalition. Here are our top priorities.
Dedicating Environmental Trust Funds
After the overwhelming approval of the Trust Fund Amendment (Amendment 1) in November, we are ready to protect environmental cleanup funding once and for all.
The Constitutional Amendment that passed last year now allows lawmakers to protect fees from misappropriation when they authorize the fee or renew it. We are pushing for a bill that will stop the legislative looting of the Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste Trust Funds that are intended to pay for the cleanup of abandoned hazardous sites, illegal tire dumps, and ailing landfills among other clean community programs.
We will update this post when we have a bill number.
Safe Storage of Coal Ash
Coal ash is the substance left after burning coal to generate power. This ash contains a number of dangerous toxins that pose serious health risks to drinking water resources.
For decades, this ash was stored in leaky, unlined ponds that must now be closed. Unfortunately, the current, permanent closure plans call for roughly half of the coal ash statewide to remain in these unlined pits after being dewatered in a process called cap-in-place.
Without a liner, these pits will continue to leak toxins into ground water.
Georgia Power currently plans to excavate the ash at Plant Bowen on the Etowah and install a liner before closing that plant’s large coal ash pond. At Plant Hammond on the Coosa, the current plan is to excavate 3 of the 4 ash ponds on site. Georgia Power intends to leave the remaining pond (ash pond 3 or AP-3) in place without a liner despite the fact that the base of the ash pond sits beneath the water table.
We are working to introduce legislation that will require all coal ash ponds to be stored in dry, lined facilities in order to protect drinking water resources.
If you want to stay informed on important bills and rollbacks, you can check out Georgia Water Coalition’s bill tracker or sign up for weekly legislative updates that will keep you up to date on everything water-related at the Capitol.