A Dirty Business

Thank you to all of you who came out to our screening of Dirty Business: Clean Coal and the Fight for Our Energy Future.  I am always motivated and inspired by well-made documentaries.

This inspiration led me to do some research and after reading several web articles and following many links, I found my way to two EPA reports on Coal Combustion Residual Impoundments here in Georgia.  I must be clear that there are WAY more than 2 impoundments in our state, but GA power is claiming confidential business information (CBI) and refusing to release these assessments.   The EPA can, and has denied them of this claim, but the reports have yet to be published.  Even the reports I found had been severely redacted, leaving out nearly all quantitative data.  You can view them for yourself  here. I would recommend scrolling down to the risk ratings that each of the sites received– All were “Significantly hazardous” and some even got the “highly hazardous” distinction –meaning that the violations will probably result in the loss of human life.  Yeah. pretty sickening.  These waste sites are located just a few miles from schools, churches, and neighborhoods as well as streams and rivers.  I am beside myself to think that these waste sites may not even be the worst of what GA power is attempting to get away with.

All coal generated power plants generate ash which has been found to containhexavalent chromiun <see here>  Sound familiar? Well that is because hexavalentchromium was the toxin that Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric over for its contamination of drinking water.

UGA is contributing to this problem.  It is time for our administration to stop citing budget concerns as an excuse to keep burning coal.  Coal is not cheap.  The costs stretch far beyond this campus, and we do not deserve our place as the flagship institution of the South if we do not recognize this.



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