More than half the water in Georgia is used to make electricity. From nuclear to hydro-power, just about every river in the state has some kind of power plant on its banks. But as Georgia’s population and energy needs grow, there are concerns about the health of rivers, especially in times of drought.
The Altamaha River drains a quarter of the state, stretching from Atlanta and Macon to Darien on the coast. It’s been an engine for economic activity since Native Americans and early settlers used it to travel to inland Georgia.
A movement is underway to make Georgia’s rivers more accessible for recreation. A week-long event gets hundreds of paddlers out on a different river in the state each year, and it’s opening up those waters to more people year round.
An environmental coalition has settled a lawsuit trying to block water discharge from a proposed coal-fired power plant. The Georgians for Clean Energy Coalition says, the plant developer has agreed to limit the temperature of the water they plan to put in the Oconee River. The Sierra Club says, limiting the discharge temperature will protect fish.
An administrative law judge's decision could make it harder for power companies and other water users to transfer water across basin boundaries. Power company officials say, the difference is only procedural and amounts to a delay of just a matter of months.
A judge has rejected two water permits issued by Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division for a proposed coal fired power plant in Washington County. Administrative Law Judge Ronit Walker says one permit didn’t follow correct guidelines for interbasin transfers--the act of moving water from one river basin to another.