- U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia has introduced the Coal Ash Landfill Safety Act that would require greater monitoring and preventive measures to protect residents near landfills that accept coal ash.
- Specifically, the legislation would enforce tougher coal ash dust prevention measures; implement better groundwater monitoring; and prohibit coal ash residuals within five feet of groundwater.
- The proposed legislation follows reports of ash leaks and spills in Georgia including at a Republic Services landfill near Jesup; Republic discovered three years before it stopped accepting ash that the toxic waste had contaminated soil and groundwater, and an Atlanta-Journal investigation charged the waste could have been present for months to years earlier.
As concerned as residents are about the leaks and spills' impact on their groundwater and soil, they are equally worried about what the future may hold. Not only has Republic applied for a permit that would enable the company to bring in more coal ash, but according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Power is planning to ship coal ash residue to landfills after its pending closure of ash ponds and landfills across the state.
"I do not want Georgia residents or anyone in America, regardless of income, neighborhood, race or ethnicity, to be unfairly and unreasonably exposed to toxic chemicals because coal ash is being deposited in inadequately protected facilities near their homes and communities," Johnson said in a statement, as reported in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, whose district includes the Jesup landfill, offered not comment, explaining that the district had not reviewed the bill.