From Ogeechee plan redux: Citizens are disgusted in today’s Savannah Morning News:
With near unanimous frustration and outrage, dozens of speakers told regulators from the Environmental Protection Division Tuesday night that the state’s plans to punish Ogeechee River polluter King America Finishing fall short of both improving the river’s quality and forcing the company to make amends for wrongdoing.
“Your job is to protect the environment, yet you have repeatedly allowed a corporation from another state with no allegiance to Georgia or its people to come into the area and recklessly and criminally destroy a once pristine body of water,” said Connie Hayes, of Brooklet.
“You need to change your name to EDD, Environmental Destruction Division,” said Hubert Sapp, who’s lived on the river for 70 years.
A massive fish kill in 2011 on the Ogeechee River led to the discovery that King America Finishing — a manufacturer in Screven County — had been “operating an unauthorized discharge from a fire retardant line for five years.”
The EPD’s plan is to have the company spend a total of about a million dollars on a nature center, wastewater treatment in nearby Millen, and additional monitoring. The Ogeechee Riverkeeper has an ongoing lawsuit. Other recently settled lawsuits will lead to the restocking of shad in the river.
This ongoing issue raises myriad questions about how to balance industrial, environmental, recreational, and residential uses, not to mention the state’s seriousness in going after polluters.