Environmentalists are claiming victory after a utility company has agreed to not build two proposed coal plants — including a planned carbon belcher in southwest Georgia which eco-advocates have fought for more than a decade.
For years, green groups including the Sierra Club's Georgia Chapter, Atlanta-based environmental law firm GreenLaw, and Friends of the Chattahoochee have argued that LS Power's proposed 1,200-MW Plant Longleaf near Blakely, Ga., would sully the air with toxic mercury, lead, and soot and smog.
The battle to block the coal plant, which began in 2001 when the New York-based energy company proposed the facility, was fought everywhere from community meetings to Fulton County courtrooms. (Here's GreenLaw's history of the case.)
The efforts end today with the plant's cancellation, which the Sierra Club says is part of an agreement the group has struck with LS Power that requires the energy firm to abandon its plans for Longleaf in Georgia and another facility in Arkansas, where the company had plans for another coal plant. LS Power will also impose strict new limits on air pollution at its new coal plant in Texas.
“This is not just a victory for the individuals and organizations fighting this plant, but also for all Georgians, who are now safe from a major new source of toxic air pollution,” Colleen Kiernan, Director of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “This victory represents our best work: combining the power of the courts, the power of the people and the power of the press.”
Adds GreenLaw Executive Director Justine Thompson in a statement: "Longleaf’s cancelation is one of dozens that have swept the nation, which raises the question — when will state officials finally learn that Georgia’s citizens deserve better than coal? Georgia has a promising future — but to be a serious player in the global economy while also ensuring that we have clean air and water, Georgia needs to embrace energy efficiency and more renewable sources of energy.”
LS Power was not immediately available for comment. We'll update when we hear word.
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