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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 1:14pm

Environmental Groups Blast Proposed Coal Plant in Washington County

Opponents fear a proposed coal plant in Washington County will emit vast quantities of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury. Their fears come despite proposed federal regulations that would require cleaner coal burning technology.

"Of course it's going to degrade our air quality," says Justine Thompson, director of Greenlaw, an environmental group opposed to Plant Washington in Sandersville. "The fact that regulations are tighter than they were decades ago really doesn't speak to the issue of whether or not this is a good idea today."

Thompson's group, as well as several others today, announced a legal challenge to another proposed coal plant in Early County. Thompson says her group may consider a legal challenge against Plant Washington, but only after they've submitted comments on the matter to the state Environmental Protection Division.

The EPD announced yesterday that it had issued draft permits for Plant Washington. That action means the agency has found that plans for the plant comply with state regulations for air and water quality.

Power4Georgians has said that their plant will be cleaner than older plants, due to tougher federal regulations requiring a reduction in emissions of pollutants. The group also says a coal-fired plant is a good source of cheap energy.

The plant would provide energy for about 500,000-700,000 homes.