Earth Ministry participates in Georgia Water Coalition Partners Meeting
Five NWUUC Earth Ministry team members attended the Georgia Water Coalition Partners Meeting on November 17th at the Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington, GA. Topics at the meeting included fracking, coal ash, groundwater, buffers, pipelines, Sierra Club’s National Campaign on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, the impact of the election results on water policy, and Georgia’s 2016 Dirty Dozen report.
Northwest Earth Ministry members learned about regulations unchanged since 1975 that could allow fracking in Georgia without any requirement for public notification of residents. A bill has been drafted and ten local governments are urging its passage. The bill doesn’t prohibit drilling but it does put regulation in place.
In the ongoing Water Wars between Georgia and Florida, the latest case is going on this November in a court room in Portland, Maine. Almost 30 years of litigation have culminated in the current case to determine if Georgia is taking too much water from the Chattahoochee and causing too little flow to Florida’s Apalachicola Bay oyster industry. The dispute may go to the Supreme Court, but there is still time for Georgia and Florida to come to an agreement.
Another key issue concerned the Palmetto petroleum pipeline. Georgia and South Carolina changed their laws to deter the placing of the pipeline. So the nation is watching the current suspension as well as plans for legislation this fall to ban the use of imminent domain by pipeline companies to take over private land.
There have been victories in that some coal powered power plants are slated to close in Georgia. The concern remains on how remaining coal ash ponds are contained. In addition, The Southern Company has plans to put solar panels on top of their capped coal ash. Watchdog groups are, however, concerned about seepage into the rivers.
Capitol Conservation Day was announced to be February 15, 2017. Anyone who wants to participate will meet at the Central Presbyterian Church across from the Capital in downtown Atlanta for training on the bills and how to be an advocate. Participants will then go to meet with Georgia legislators. Mark your calendar and look for updates.
Learn more about Georgia waters most at risk in 2016 on Georgia Water Coalition’s website: Georgia’s Dirty Dozen
Northwest UUC Earth Ministry is one of over 200 partners who work with the Georgia Water Coalition.