The Women of Georgia WAND at Capitol Conservation Day by Phyllis Richardson

The Georgia WAND squad lobbied under the Gold Dome on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, focusing on HB 545, The Right to Farm and SB 123 which helps to offset the burden of having a landfill accept coal ash within their jurisdiction.  Coal ash, the waste leftover from burning coal, has harmful metals like mercury, arsenic, and other dangerous chemicals in it. It’s critically important that we keep these chemicals from entering our water supplies.

HB 545 gets rid of the Right to Farm Act, which protects farmers from nuisance lawsuits brought by new neighbors.  There are no examples in Georgia where the existing law has failed to protect a farmer from nuisance claims by new neighbors such as private industry.  By gutting the Right to Farm Act, HB 545 makes currently protected farms vulnerable to future nuisance lawsuits.

Solution: HB 545 protects existing farmers and property owners – Ask your Senator to vote NO on HB 545 and protect private property rights.

Electric utilities are moving millions of metric tons of coal ash 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 and live with pollution from coal ash storage.   

Currently toxic coal ash is stored in six private landfills around Georgia (Banks, Charlton, Chatham, Cherokee, Meriwether and Taylor counties).  The Chesser Island Landfill in Charlton County is located right next to the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

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. 

Solution: SB 123 removes the loophole by raising the surcharge on toxic coal ash that local governments can charge private landfills – Ask your Representatives to vote YES on SB 123.

TAKE ACTION NOW….

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE MEMBER

Ask your Representatives to vote YES on SB 123.  Ask you Senator to vote NO on HB 545!

We must protect the health of Georgians by keeping toxins out of our groundwater and to stop taking away a 150 + year old property right protection.

Thank you!! For more information, contact Phyllis Richardson, Governmental Affairs Director at phyllis@georgiawand.org.