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Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Awards $1M In Grant Funding For Ga. Brownfield Cleanup

Jun 8, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is allocating more than $1 million to start the process of cleaning up brownfields in the state. 

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A brownfield is land that might be contaminated or polluted after industrial or commercial use. 

Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia Tech researchers have found it's not just car emissions sending people to emergency rooms in Atlanta, but all that dust coming off brakepads and tires.

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Last year, researchers suspended monitors near I-75 in Atlanta to measure air pollution including the acidity in the air.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Last Friday, Sierra Club members held a rally in downtown Atlanta.  They were there to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while voicing their opposition to its new chief.  

The U.S. Senate recently confirmed President Trump's nominee, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. During his time in Oklahoma, Pruitt fought against EPA regulations, often in consultation with energy firms, as revealed in recently-released emails.

Among his targets:  President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which Pruitt has promised to scrap.

Photo Courtesy of Roy Stanley

Friday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As Oklahoma Attorney General, he has opposed the agency in lawsuits, and Georgia has often sided with him.

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WhosThisValGirl / flickr.com/whosthisvalgirl

DeKalb County admitted this week that it failed to report a number of sewage issues over the last four years, including 35 spills that reached the region's waterways. The county is required to report such issues to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency according to a 2010 federal court order.

Findings from an internal investigation submitted to the EPA show county employees sometimes didn't record a spill or overflow if they didn't witness it themselves. They also didn't report many cases where sewage simply flooded an area or building.

Molly Samuel / WABE

Peggy Riggins, a retired high school teacher and counselor in Jesup, Georgia, is on a mission. On a hot, bright day in the southeast Georgia town, she’s going from business to business, asking people to join and donate to her cause: fighting a plan to bring thousands, maybe millions, of tons of coal ash to the local landfill.

USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency / flickr.com/photos/usepagov/

Climate change, air quality and water pollution are not just environmental issues; they also affect people's health.

In Atlanta, the city is working on cleaning up long-running issues of flooding and pollution in neighborhoods along Proctor Creek, on the city’s west side.

Georgia Power is beginning to close its coal ash ponds, which hold a byproduct from burning coal that can contaminate water.

AP File

The Obama Administration just tightened smog regulations on Thursday. Georgia will have to work hard to meet the new standards, but will have plenty of time to do it.

The Environmental Protection Agency reduced the allowable amount of ground-level ozone pollution—or smog. That means dealing with its two main sources: electricity and car exhaust. Brian Gist, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, says there are some obvious changes Georgia can make.

Payton Chung / flickr.com/paytonc

Georgia Commute Options, a program funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation, issued a “Code Orange” smog alert during the first week in August. This is metro Atlanta’s fourth “Code Orange” warning for the 2015 smog season. 

When a “Code Orange” smog alert is issued, sensitive groups, including older adults, children and those who suffer heart or lung conditions are affected by the unhealthy air quality. 

Ga. Activist: More Minority Voices Needed In Energy Debate

Aug 11, 2015
26 Sanyo PV modules sitting on the roof of a family home in Massachusetts produce a total of 5KW of solar electric energy. This set up is projected to produce roughly 100% of the household's electricity.
Bob Gaffney / flickr.com/thegaffneys

The Obama administration recently unveiled an unprecedented action plan to address climate change. The Clean Power Plan significantly cuts carbon emissions from U.S. power plants over the next 15 years, setting the first-ever carbon emission standards for power plants.

After the administration's announcement, some Georgia officials expressed concern that the plan will ultimately hurt minorities and low-income families by driving up energy costs.

Ken Lund / www.flickr.com/Ken Lund

The state of Georgia is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers over a new water rule.

Attorney general Sam Olens and attorneys general from eight other states filed suit in a federal court in Georgia, in an attempt to overturn the Clean Water Rule, also called the Waters of the United States Rule.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

An Atlanta environmental group is working to clean up a little-known creek that runs through the heart of the city, hoping to restore it to its natural state.

The South Fork creek is one of the tributaries of Peachtree Creek, which itself is one of the smallest branches of the Chattahoochee River. The the South Fork Conservancy has plans for what the group’s executive director, Sally Sears, calls a “hidden gem” in the middle of bustling and busy Atlanta.

Chattahoochee River at Jones Bridge Park in Peachtree Corners
Courtesy City of Peachtree Corners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a controversial new water rule on Wednesday.

According to the EPA, almost 5 million Georgians get water from systems that rely on small or seasonal streams.  

The Chattahoochee River passes under 285 in Sandy Springs. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tkennedy/509415441
Monika & Tim / flickr.com/tkennedy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to release a new rule regulating water. The agency says it clarifies how the Clean Water Act works, but some people in Georgia worry that it threatens private property rights.

A concrete pipe below this coal ash impoundment failed, releasing between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of ash pond water waste into the Dan River.
Steven Alexander / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

Duke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday for spilling nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash into a river in North Carolina and for polluting other rivers in the state. The utility faces more than $100 million in fines for violating the Clean Water Act. 

Atlanta skyline in smog. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlanta_cityscape_032008.jpg
Cwolfsheep / wikimedia.org

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to reduce the pollution that causes smog. Gov. Nathan Deal opposes the plan.

He is one of 11 governors that sent a letter to the EPA earlier this week, outlining concerns with a proposed rule that would lower the limits on ozone.

John Amis / Associated Press

Georgia officials are preparing for new federal restrictions on pollution from coal power plants, and one option the state is considering is a carbon market.

About a third of Georgia’s electricity comes from burning coal, which contributes to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is introducing regulations that require all states to reduce that pollution.

John Amis / Associated Press

Georgia regulators are starting to wrestle with how to cut pollution from coal power plants. They have to in order to comply with controversial federal greenhouse gas rules. But until the final rules are out, the goal is a moving target.   

“We don’t know what’s going to be in the final rule, or how the proposed rule will change,” said Keith Bentley, the chief of the air branch at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. “We expect it to change because there were over two million comments filed.”

Plant Scherer in operation at Juliette, Ga.
Gene Blythe / Associated Press

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its first-ever regulations on coal ash, a byproduct from burning coal that can contain arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium.

“This is a huge step forward,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “For the first time in our history we have clear, concise standards for these facilities moving forward.”

Georgia Power's Plant Scherer, located in Juliette, GA, in a photo from the website Energy Manager Today.
Energy Manager Today

In June 2014, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plant Rule - some tough new standards for pollutants from power plants.  The overall goal is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases - like carbon dioxide - from power plants by 30 percent from their 2005 levels, with a deadline of 2030.  

Georgia Power's Plant Scherer, located in Juliette, GA, in a photo from the website Energy Manager Today.
Energy Manager Today

In June 2014, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plant Rule - some tough new standards for pollutants from power plants.  The overall goal is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases - like carbon dioxide - from power plants by 30 percent from their 2005 levels, with a deadline of 2030.  

The Georgia Public Service Commission, the elected body that regulates utilities in the state, submitted comments calling for the EPA to scale back the Clean Power Plant Rule.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with PSC member Stan Wise.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new limits on the pollution that causes smog. Atlanta meets the current standards, but under the new rules, it would likely fall out of compliance.

The proposal is based on thousands of studies, according to EPA chief Gina McCarthy.   

“Now the science clearly tells us that ozone poses a real threat to our health,” she said at a Tuesday morning press conference.

EPA Orders Army To Improve Air Quality Near Fort Gillem

Sep 25, 2014
Evan Jang / WABE

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued an order requiring the U.S. Army to take corrective action near Fort Gillem in Clayton County. The Army was supposed to take steps to improve air quality in more than 25 homes near the former Army base after testing and discovering toxic vapor. But the EPA says the Army has yet to act.

Debate Continues Over Impact of EPA Carbon-Cutting Plan

Jul 30, 2014

Two days of hearings on the U.S. Environmental Protection’s Agency’s new carbon-cutting proposal wrapped up Wednesday in downtown Atlanta.

Supporters and opponents continued to debate the proposal’s actual effect on ratepayers.

EPA’s rule would force existing U.S. power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.

Perhaps the most discussed line of attack has been the claim that the proposed carbon rule will have little to no effect on climate change and public health.

Evan Jang / WABE

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took public comments in Atlanta on proposed carbon regulations today. 

Proponents and opponents of these regulations voiced their opinions at rallies downtown. 

Environmental activists from across the Southeast hoisted signs reading "Climate Action Now" in Woodruff park at the "Rally for Clean Energy." 

GreenLaw organized the event, which included speakers, testimony and music. 

Hundreds of advocates from across the Southeast descended on Atlanta Tuesday. They came for the first of two hearings on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to dramatically cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.

Multiple rallies and marches were held near the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta where the hearing took place. The day took on a convention-like feel, with stakeholders from all sides of the debate ready to make their case. 

The state’s lead regulator on air quality Friday offered his first public assessment of new carbon rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Keith Bentley, the Air Protection Branch Chief at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said he and other state regulators are still working to understand the proposed carbon standard.

An effort to help the state comply with newly proposed federal clean air regulations brought local business leaders to downtown Atlanta Thursday.

A national coalition of environmental groups called the Climate Action Campaign organized the meeting.

David Gardner works with the Climate Action Campaign. He says reducing carbon emissions doesn’t have to be a drain on a company’s bottom line.

Georgia Power's Plant Scherer, located in Juliette, GA, in a photo from the website Energy Manager Today.
Energy Manager Today

  On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules aimed at cutting carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants over the next 15 years.  

Environmental advocates called the proposal an important step in addressing how pollution contributes to climate change.  Utility industry leaders said the new rules will cost jobs and raise consumer costs.  

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