Rep Mary Oliver: Coal Ash Controversy Lives On

As I have regularly reported to you, I have advocated for disposal in lined landfills of all coal ash residual from Georgia Power’s coal fired plants. Georgia Power has 11 coal fired power plants (7 of which are closed or in the closure process) with over 86 million tons of coal ash stored in 29 unlined ponds at the plants. Under federal and state law, the ponds must be closed. Georgia Power wants to close most of the ponds “in situ” or in place, after dewatering and capping. Many in the environmental community feel this leaves significant risk for toxins in the coal ash to leach into the water table. We are pushing for a legislative solution: requiring removal of the ash to lined pits, such as are required for disposal of household waste. Our efforts so far have been blocked.

On a different playing field, the Sierra Club is challenging the Public Service Commission’s approval of a rate increase for Georgia Power that will pass on the coal ash pond closure costs to consumers. The case is currently before the Georgia Court of Appeals after a Fulton County judge ruled in favor of Georgia Power. For a good summary of this, check out this piece in the Saporta Report.

For Earth Day, Sierra Club Georgia is airing a docu-series “Rising from the Ashes” on Zoom on April 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., including a question and answer session with experts and the film makers. Registration is required. Sierra Club GeorgiaRising from the Ashes TrailerRegister Here