A new report ranks the Savannah River third in the country for the amount of toxic discharge released into its water. More than 5 million pounds of waste were discharged into the river in 2010, according to the report from Environment Georgia. Tonya Bonitatibus of Savannah Riverkeeper says officials have been working on a pollution reduction plan for several years. But she says little has changed in the meantime. “What we’ve got on this river is we’ve still got a large amount of pollution going in, we’ve got permits that expired five, six years ago, and it’s the status quo.”
Georgia U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss are among Senate Republicans pushing for a one-year moratorium on new federal regulations. They say the new rules will stifle business. Environmentalists see the moratorium as another example of putting business interests before public health.
Georgia environmental groups are praising a decision by the Obama administration to reverse itself on offshore oil. Back in March, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the administration would open up the East Coast to offshore drilling. Now -- after the Gulf oil spill -- Salazar says, the administration will NOT persue Atlantic oil.
Environment Georgia reported that beach closings and advisories due to pollution went up the last year in Georgia, totaling 209 days of closed or under advisory beaches. The numbers are according to the Natural Resource Defense Council's 20th annual beach water quality report.