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. 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. SB 123 was signed by the Governor June 29, 2020.
Georgia needs a constitutional amendment that gives the General Assembly the authority to dedicate fees for their intended purpose: Georgia’s Hazardous Waste and Solid Waste Trust Funds are important funding sources that help the state clean up toxic sites and eliminate illegal tire dumps. They are funded by additional fees that we pay when we purchase tires or dump trash at a landfill. Since they were created in the 1990s, they have generated about $500 million. Unfortunately, about $200 million, have been diverted to pay for other portions of the state budget. Amendment 1 would fix this problem. The ballot measure passed in November 2020! Good work, Georgia!Stay tuned for additional opportunities to make sure adequate funds are allotted to environmental protection... Increase the water quality protections for the Satilla River: People from across our watershed swim, paddle, and play in the Satilla each year. However, the state will only ensure protections for a water body's "Designated Use." Currently, the Satilla River is not designated for Recreation, which means the water quality standards are not as protective as they should be. Help us tell EPD that we use our Satilla for recreation, and it deserves higher protections!