Georgians Want Coal Waste Laws Fixed


Georgians Want Coal Waste Laws Fixed

Hahira, GA, February 27, 2018 — “We don’t want coal ash in our rivers or in our wells, and we don’t want any more mercury in our Alapaha River from coal plants, so we back Georgia House Bill 879 to inform Georgians what Georgia Power and others are doing with their coal ash,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. He added, “Ninety percent of Georgians agree on this, and Georgia Water Coalition has helped this bill get very close to passing. You can push it through by crossover day by getting your state legislators to vote on it today or tomorrow.”

Dewatering notification: 90%, Poll

Here is an easy way to send email to your Georgia state legislators:

For more background on these bills, see:

About WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS)

Founded in June 2012, WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.

John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the Member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

For More Information Contact:
John S. Quarterman 229-242-0102, WWALS
Megan Desrosiers, 912.223.8608, Georgia Water Coalition

Georgia Water Coalition supplied the information below.

In a statewide poll of Georgia voters, a majority said that state laws should be fixed to protect communities from coal waste pollution.

Nine out of ten (90%) Georgians said that communities should be notified when utilities drain coal ash pits into local waterways and when landfills want to receive coal ash. Eighty-three percent (83%) of Georgians support new laws to require landfills to frequently test their monitoring wells for coal ash leaks. Seventy-five percent (75%) of Georgians said that Georgia Power should be required to pay for drinking water well testing on private properties close to coal ash pits.  

“It’s clear that Georgians want better laws to protect their communities and their water from coal waste pollution,” said Megan Desrosiers, One Hundred Miles. “The Georgia Water Coalition urges our Representatives to promptly pass legislation and fix Georgia’s lax coal ash laws.”

“In Juliette, we have seen private property owners struggle with contaminated drinking water wells near coal ash ponds, and in Milledgeville, coal ash pits are leaking into Lake Sinclair.  As coal ash is excavated and moved around the state, communities located near landfills are looking for this toxic heavy-metal sludge to be properly stored,”  said Jen Hilburn, Altamaha Riverkeeper. “These communities are concerned and people are speaking up with a unified voice.”

Earlier in February, Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) introduced two bills to address coal waste pollution. These bills must pass the House by the end of the legislative day on Wednesday, February 28. HB 879 would require Georgia Power and other power-generating utilities to notify local communities when the water from coal ash ponds is drained into our local rivers, lakes, and streams. HB 880 would require notification and more stringent testing at landfills that are accepting coal ash. It would also prohibit municipal solid waste landfills located in floodplains or too close to shallow aquifers from accepting coal ash.

Landfill testing: 83%, Poll

Drinking well testing: 75%, Poll

About the poll: The telephone poll of 625 registered Georgia voters took place February 20 – 23, 2018. The poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc of Jacksonville, Florida on behalf of the Georgia Water Coalition.  Those interviewed were selected randomly from a telephone-matched Georgia voter registration list that included both landline and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter registration by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ±4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed.

About the Georgia Water Coalition:

The Georgia Water Coalition is a consortium of more than 240 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have been working to protect Georgia’s water since 2002. Collectively, these organizations represent thousands of Georgians.

The Georgia Water Coalition’s mission is to protect and care for Georgia’s surface and groundwater resources, which are essential for sustaining economic prosperity, providing clean and abundant drinking water, preserving diverse aquatic habitats for wildlife and recreation, strengthening property values, and protecting the quality of life for current and future generations.


 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!