Groups want coal ash regulation

Daniel DeMersseman | The Valdosta Daily TimesBetty Benner of No Ash At All shows a Jesup newspaper investigative report on coal ash.

VALDOSTA — Georgia Interfaith Power & Light recently sponsored a presentation on the dangers of improperly stored coal ash.

Members of GIPL, No Ash at All, and Suwanee Riverkeeper joined together to discuss proper coal ash storage.

“Coal ash contains mercury, lead, and other heavy metals and is stored in unlined, uncapped ponds on utility company property near waterways,” said the Rev. Leeann Culbreath of GIPL.

“We’re looking at legislation currently to regulate coal ash storage,” Culbreath said.

“Coal ash is produced primarily from the burning of coal in coal-fired power plants,” according to the EPA’s website.

“Without proper management, these contaminants can pollute waterways, ground water, drinking water, and the air,” according to the site.

“There can be air exposure, too, as it’s transported,” Culbreath said.

Three bills address coal ash storage, HB 387 and 388 in the House and SB 165 in the Senate, Culbreath said.

Bills require testing and treating of water from ash ponds, management plans for coal ash and holding out-of-state companies liable for damages when storing coal ash in Georgia, she said.

“I’m here as a person of faith. I think it’s a matter of loving your neighbor,” Culbreath said.

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