Beyond Coal Update
Cobb EMC is one step closer to an agreement regarding the first member's meeting and the elections for board directors after a hearing this past Friday. Cobb EMC lawyers and coalition members who filed suit against the utility company are in agreement for the members meeting to take place in mid-September and have three rounds of elections starting in late 2011 and finishing early 2012. Some issues that have yet to be resloved include where the elections will take place as well as if members in the Pataula District, located in South Georgia will need to vote in person.
Georgia Power recently filed an updated integrated resource plan (IRP) that calls for retirements of its older coal-fired units and stronger pollution control on other units. This includes retiring one unit at Plant Mitchell near Albany, GA and two units at Plant Branch in Milledgeville, GA. Also included in the IRP were plans to work on the potential installation of "baghouses" which is a type of filter at three other power plants. Furthermore, the IRP has renewable energy and energy efficiency in its details. These plans included buying four power purchasing agreements between Georgia Power and Southern Power to cover the electricity obtained from the soon-to-be retired coal units. The energy for these power-purchasing agreements comes from natural gas.
New from Sierra Club, a report: "Giant Fish Blenders: How Power Plants Kill Fish & Damage Our Waterways (And What Can Be Done to Stop Them)". This report details the billions of fish and other aquatic life that are killed each year because of old power plants. These power plants use water-intake systems to cool down equipment that has generated heat during the process. The cooling pipes sit below the water's surface and suck in not just water but fish and other animal and plant life. Once the equpment has been cooled the hot water is discharged back into the bodies of water contributing thermal pollution that is dangerous the the ecosystems. This process is illustrated in a cartoon by Mark Fiore. The EPA is responsible for section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which requires the use of the best technology to decrease the damage to the environment. However, due to pressure from powerful industries, the EPA has decided not to require the best available technology to be used in power plants. This means that there will be no further protection at this time for our waterways, animal life, and plant life.
On August 18th at 6:30PM at the Oconee Fall Line Technical College in Sandersville, Georgia EPD will hold a public hearing on air permits issued to the proposed Plant Washington coal plant. Sierra Club and Georgians for Smart Energy is fighting Plant Washington because coal threatens our public health and our environment. Georgia needs smart, clean energy solutions to power our future and you can help! At the last hearing in Sandersville, where the plant is proposed to be built, plant supporters outnumbered plant opposers. We can't let that happen this time - we need to show decision-makers and the media that Georgians don't want dirty, expensive, and unneccessary coal plants.
Transit Funding and Georgia
Currently the proposed project lists for the Atlanta area are the talk of the town. What about the role that the State of Georgia is playing in helping fund the transit systems? Well, the truth is that the State of Georgia isn't playing any role. It will not invest help in sustaining and expanding the transit systems. If the proposed transportation tax goes through, metro Atlantans will be contributing to their own growth and future. However, the State does not want to fund the future even though Metro Atlanta contributes billions of dollars to the State throught the 4-cent sales tax and 7.5 cent motor fuel tax. The task of creating those project lists for transportation is difficult because there is not enough money to help create a sustainable transit system - the State could help fuel the growth and provide help for the future of metro Atlanta. Read more here.
Sierra Club Meetings
Georgia Chapter Retreat - September 30th-October 2nd
Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune is coming to Georgia! The Georgia Chapter Retreat will be September 30th-October 2nd
on Jekyll Island. Dolphin watching, riding bikes, fishing, kayaking, and
learning more about how you can help the Georgia Chapter enjoy, explore
and protect the planet. Click here for more information and registration.
Great Outdoors week - August 20-28
To celebrate our outdoor heritage, conservation, recreation, and sportsmen groups from around the country will be leading activities in national forests during the entire Great Outdoors Week. As part of the celebration Georgia's Great Outdoors Week will recognize the true value of natural forests and the Bureau of Land Management roadless areas and wilderness. Get involved with activities listed here.
Sierra Club 101 - September 10th
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