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New Southern chief gets chilly reception 

Southern Co.'s new CEO Allen Franklin started his first day on the job facing an environmental group's media campaign condemning the company's pollution record.

Georgia Public Interest Research Group kicked off its "Clean Up Southern Co." media blitz with a rally across the street from the company's Peachtree Street headquarters on April 3.

PIRG also released "Southern Company: A Giant Among Polluters," a report that says, among other things:

Southern Co.'s fossil fuel plants emit 4.5 times the amount of sulfur dioxide on average than a new coal plant with pollution controls, and 37 percent more sulfur dioxide than the average power plant in the U.S.

It would take 24 million cars to produce as much carbon dioxide in a year as the Southern Co. produced in 1999.

Southern Co. spokesman John Sell says Franklin's "stance is not going to be different on environmental matters," Sells says. He also pointed out that Southern Co. spent $856 million for pollution reduction controls on seven power plants.

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