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Friday, September 7, 2012 - 11:58am

Senator Isakson Ends Pollution Study

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is cutting short a study of whether the federal government should crack down on pollution in Southeast Georgia's Ogeechee River.

Some are blaming industrial polluters for a fish kill last year.

An Isakson spokeswoman says, Senate ethics rules bar members from intervening in matters that are "in the adjudicative process."

The massive fish kill has sparked lawsuits against the textile mill, King America Finishing, and the state EPD.

An estimated 38,000 fish died in the river last year and the fish kill has sparked several lawsuits.

Environmental lawyer Hutton Brown of the Atlanta firm Greenlaw represents the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.

"We need to have some elected official who's standing up for the folks that live downstream of this facility," Brown says. "And sometimes it seems like there isn't anyone doing that."

He says, state authorities have failed the river and it's time for federal environmental regulators to step in.

"We're not having much luck persuading the state to take care of this and so the federal government should step in and help do something about this," he says. "People should call their representative."

State environmental regulators discovered an illegal waste discharge from Screven County's King America textile mill in an investigation after the fish kill.

Since then, the state's Environmental Protection Division recently permitted the company to continue discharging waste.

The Georgia EPD and the company did reach a settlement in which King America agreed to spend $1 million on environmental projects to benefit the river