This morning Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) included coverage of the new EPA Greenhouse Gas regulations which go into effect tomorrow (EPA regulations set for January 2, 2011.) They included comments from Air Division Director Jac Capp (the audio is not currently available and will be posted here if it is available later).
Capp said that meeting the new regulations will require additional costs for energy producers in Georgia. In the second sound bite he said that the EPD is not sufficiently funded to cover enforcement of the regulations. He never mentioned the positive impact that cleaner air will have on citizens' health or our natural resources.
At an EPD question and answer session over a year ago citizens asked how the EPD will monitor the coal ash waste and emissions from Plant Washington. At one point Capp said that they will stay on top of these issues, but he then said that because the EPD is underfunded and understaffed, that the public should call their offices if we see ash blowing in the area. It seems that the public is responsible for monitoring the toxin wastes and emissions in our neighborhoods.
Today's news coverage shows that the Air Protection Branch of the EPD is more concerned about protecting the profits of energy producers in Georgia rather than the health of citizens and our natural resources. We should tell our state legislators that the EPD must enforce these regulations, and the General Assembly should provide funding for the EPD to do this work.
Lastly, for those plant supporters who keep saying, "the EPD will protect us," it is clear from Capp's statements that we can't count on that, and the pollution naysayers need to know this.
Katherine Helms Cummings
FACE Executive Director