A little more than one year after filing suit against a coal plant proposed for an impoverished pocket of southwest Georgia, opponents emerged victorious in the case and say the decision alters the legal landscape for one of the chief causes of global warming.
Justine Thompson of GreenLaw, the environmental law firm that fought the power plant, says Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore established a precedent this morning when she reversed a ruling by a lower court regarding a permit issued by the state Environmental Protection Division to Dynegy Co., the Houston-based company that planned to build the plant in Early County. Moore's ruling the first in the nation states that the state agency must consider carbon dioxide emissions when it issues air-quality permits.
"A bombshell court ruling today," Frank O'Donnell of the Clean Air Watch, a Washington D.C.-based environmental group, wrote in an e-mail about Moore's decision. "This ruling could have far-reaching implications. Those proposing coal plants elsewhere are going to be running for the Excedrin."
Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club says the ruling is nonbinding for other states but would most likely be considered when cases involving new or modified coal power plants come before a court. Nationwide, he said, 130 new coal plants are proposed. Of those, nearly 80 are in the permitting process and more than half are being battled in court by the Sierra Club.
In a case that is being watched across the country, Judge Moore has sent a message that it is not acceptable for the state to put profits over public health, Thompson said in a statement. This ruling goes a long way toward protecting the right of Georgians to breathe clean air and sends a message to EPD that it must tighten the standards it uses to approve air pollution permits for companies seeking to build any more coal-fired power plants in this state.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore has reversed a ruling that would've allowed the first coal power plant in the state in 20 years to be built in Early County, putting the brakes on the idea. The case now goes back to a lower court for a hearing.
More details to come. A spokesperson for Dynegy, one of the companies building the plant, said he had not yet seen the ruling. GreenLaw, the environmental law firm who helped fight the plant, is expected to comment later today.
Governing Magazine may not have the newsstand pop of US Weekly, ya scandal-lovin' misanthropes, but it churns out some of the best content when it comes to policy issues facing metropolitan areas. This month's article by staff writer Rob Gurwitt about Atlanta's shifting demographics and its impact on politics is no exception.
From the piece:
There is really only one way to put it: Atlanta is becoming whiter, and at a pace that outstrips the rest of the nation. The white share of the city's population, says Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, grew faster between 2000 and 2006 than that of any other U.S. city. It increased from 31 percent in 2000 to 35 percent in 2006, a numeric gain of 26,000, more than double the increase between 1990 and 2000. The trend seems to be gathering strength with each passing year. Only Washington, D.C., saw a comparable increase in white population share during those years, although several other big cities are starting to see it now.
This development is occurring at the same time that race and ethnicity are driving changes every bit as fundamental in Atlanta's suburbs. For if the city itself is growing whiter, the Atlanta region is growing less white. The Atlanta Regional Commission reports that in 2000, the white, non-Hispanic population of the 20-county Atlanta metro region formed 60 percent of the total population; by 2006, that had shrunk to 54 percent, not so much because whites were leaving although four counties did see absolute declines in white numbers but because of the arrival in the suburbs of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Africans and Caribbeans. Of the 10 counties in the nation with the largest declines in white percentage of the population from 2000 to 2006, six are in the suburbs of Atlanta.
Gurwitt interviews a variety of voices and manages to encapsulate the realities of the situation. He also weighs in on the changing face of Atlanta's suburbs and how minorities and low-income residents are flocking there for cheap housing. And in turn, changing the face of the once lily-white communities.
He also notes that the state Legislature failed to pass a transportation funding strategy that would've allowed regions to levy a sales tax for people-moving projects. Now that a gallon of gas costs as much as a Happy Meal, the state should reexamine the idea. It's never too late to act, right? Eh? This thing on, lawmakers?
No metal band worth its salt is scared of a little rain. So when talk spread through the Corndogorama crowd Sunday night that headliners Zoroaster might move to the inside stage, the natives became restless. But with black clouds rumbling overhead and icy fingers of lighting stretching across the nighttime sky, the band didnt seek shelter. Instead, they raised their fists to the heavens, called down the thunder, and turned-in a gut-pummeling, career-defining performance.
In the battle between Zoroaster and natures fury, Zoroaster emerged victorious. And in their wake, a battlefield littered with half-eaten corndog sticks and bleeding eardrums were all that remained of Corndogorama 2008: The Year of the Mustard King.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
That's how one commenter on Manhattan gossip blog Gawker.com responded to a New York Times' want ad seeking a researcher for its Atlanta bureau.
The fuss arose after the Times elicited five pitches from would-be applicants on JournalismJobs.com and gave rather explicit instructions on what not to pitch: "Please do not submit ideas concerning dog fights, cock fights, or the Confederate flag."
I think that's kind of funny. To me, it speaks to an exasperation with journalism applicants perpetuating Southern clichés. Or something like that.
Gawker saw it differently as an affront to the South:
To help ensure you are not a hick, the Times has asked you to pre-pitch five stories NOT involving anything the Times has ever covered before (you do take the Times right? It's only $665 per year in trashy zip codes!), and also NOT about cliché things only of interest to the poors.
The Gawker comments that ensued are priceless. They're also as disparaging as Gawker claimed the Gray Lady to be (e.g. "nobody in Atlanta can read"). Gawker accuses the Times of condescension and elitism, and Gawker's readers respond by being condescending and elitist. Oh, the irony.
Best of all or, depending on your POV, most depressing are the comments that liken the average Southerner to one John Fitzgerald Page, the Buckhead "douchebag" immortalized by Gawker and honored with a No. 5 spot on CL's most recent Least Influential list.
Basically, we Atlantans are either illiterate or wear really bad shoes. To New Yorkers, I don't know which is worse.
(Photo by Tara-Lynne Pixley)
HERSH REALITY: Seymour Hersh writes in the New Yorker that the United States is covertly preparing the battlefield in Iran.
MUGABE: Sworn in as "president" of Zimbabwe following his "win" in the "election."
UGA IV: Will be buried in Sanford Stadium in Athens today.
CUMBERLAND ISLAND: Wildfire has consumed more than 1,600 acres.
MARTA: Time flies when you're having gun.
WRECKLESS ABANDON: A leaking shrimping boat off the Savannah coast becomes the first ship destroyed under legislation passed last year allowing authorities to seize abandoned vessels.
Since 1972, no Democratic candidate for president has won more than a third of the Southern white vote with two exceptions: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And in the last two presidential elections, the Republicans made a clean sweep of the South.
Barack Obama plans to put the South into play, according to this story in today's New York Times. Obama's campaign notes there are 600,000 blacks in Georgia alone who aren't registered to vote, and a pool of progressive, younger white voters.
Obama is already running television spots here, and will come to Atlanta on July 7 for a fund-raiser at 103 West in Buckhead.
Smart move: One recent poll shows Obama and John McCain are in a statistical dead heat in Georgia. One released this week, however, shows McCain with a 10 point lead.
Emory University's Merle Black explained to the Times why Obama's strategy is smart: When the Democrats give up the South, they need to win 70 percent of the rest of the electoral votes.
It's no coincidence that Carter and Clinton also happen to be the only two Democrats elected president since the Johnson administration.
Bob Barr's Libertarian bid for the presidency could put Georgia in play for Barack Obama, the New York Times quoted U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson as saying over the weekend.
If Barr got 8 percent, and youve got the higher African-American turnout from Barack Obama, then youd have a significantly close race in the state," the Georgia Republican told the Times in an article published Saturday.
That differs from the line of most local Republicans, who've generally pooh-poohed the potential Barr effect. But several polls have shown Obama surprsingly within 10 percent of John McCain in Georgia, and Barr with support as high as 8 percent presumably drawn from libertarian-leaning conservatives who'd otherwise back McCain.
Barr, a former uber-conservative congressman from the north Atlanta 'burbs (who gained true fame as a Creative Loafing columnist), was dissed by Bush, Rove and the Republican establishment during redistricting earlier this decade when he was lumped into an unfriendly district dominated by a more lockstep party mate. He doesn't seem to bothered by the prospect of harming McCain's chances:
Well, gee, you might take votes from Senator McCain, Mr. Barr said this week, mimicking one of the complainers, as he sat sipping Coca-Cola in his plush corner office, 12 stories above Atlanta. They all said, Look, we understand why youre doing this. We agree with why youre doing it. But please dont do it.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
Political commentators are divided over whether former U.S. Senator from Georgia Sam Nunn would make a good running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Some might doubt whether Obama is ready for that 3 a.m. phone call, but Nunn who is already an Obama policy adviser certainly would be, especially in an era when that phone call is ever more likely to involve a loose nuke.
[Nunn] was not above channeling base, "yuck factor"-based objections to homosexuality in service of his retrograde policy views. Even today, he only says he'd "reconsider" Don't Ask Don't Tell, and insists he was right in 1993.
An excerpt from "Having Nunn of It, an online petition against selecting Nunn as Obamas running mate.
Putting a 70-year old, white, southern, corporate dude on the ticket would almost entirely wipe away any notion that Obama is a "change" candidate.
Chris Bowers, June 16, on the blog OpenLeft
"Few things are certain in presidential politics, but here are three: it will be expensive; it will get negative; and, at some point, former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia will be mentioned as a possible Democratic running mate."
Mark Leibovich, June 22, New York Times
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