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Atlanta Environmental Law Blog

Lawmakers call on EPA to reinvestigate fracking contamination

Water contamination is a big concern in some industries, and corporations engaged in activity that causes pollution to water sources have a social responsibility to clean up their act and reduce their waste and contamination contributions. There are also legal responsibilities for companies as well. At the federal level, for instance, there is the Clean Water Act, which has the purpose of preventing water pollution by holding companies accountable. States also have their own protections against contamination which must be followed. While the federal Clean Water Act is an important means for protecting water sources, there are other federal laws addressing groundwater contamination.

One industry which is generating a fair amount of concern over water contamination at present is the natural gas industry which is using hydraulic fracturing to access resources. Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluids deep into the ground at high pressure to force shale rocks to open and release natural gas reserves. 

Florida-based company sued over water pollution at Georgia plant

Rayonier Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida-based logging company, is reportedly facing litigation in connection with one of its factories in southeast Georgia. According to the complaint, filed in late March by the Altamaha Riverkeeper, the company routinely dumps waste into the Altamaha River from its Jesup mill without taking steps to come into compliance with anti-pollution laws.

In particular, the Riverkeeper alleges the company dumps between 50 million and 60 million gallons of polluted waste per day, and that this prevents local residents from swimming or fishing because of the pollution and disruption to the river’s natural state. 

Oil company reaches massive settlement over environmental contamination

You don’t have to be a health nut to appreciate that we live in a toxic world. Exposure can come from dangerous work environments, medical products, household chemicals, and many other places. The BP oil spill of 2010 is a particularly clear indication of this, though there are many smaller ways we are exposed to dangerous substances

Anadarko Petroleum, a company associated with the BP oil spill, reportedly reached a settlement with the Department of Justice this week which constitutes the largest environmental settlement in history. The deal involves $5.15 billion and a promise to clean up numerous sites and provide compensation to thousands who have been harmed by toxic spills

Georgia residents sue factory when government fails to respond

Certainly residents of Georgia understand that they are fortunate to have access to certain products that the millions of various kinds of factories around the globe, including here, manufacture. Home state factories are also a gift because they keep jobs in Georgia. But no amount of good should compromise the well-being of the environment and those who inhabit it.

In the past we have shared posts about civilians taking on the important charge of fighting for environmental compliance when government groups don't do enough themselves. There is a new river contamination lawsuit in town, and this time it is filed against Rayonier Inc. and Rayonier Performance Fibers LLC.

Worldwide health statistic underscores danger of air pollution

Environmental law matters can sometimes seem somewhat impersonal and/or focused on short-term consequences. The World Health Organization just released an alarming statistic related to the environment that all people should be able to relate to and take seriously.

Matters don't get more personal or pressing than life and death. According to the WHO, one out of eight deaths in the world can be at least partly attributed to contaminated air. The bulk of those pollution-related deaths are of victims from outside of the U.S., but the proof of pollution danger is relevant everywhere.

Georgia man criminally convicted for mishandling hazardous waste

One might think that if it is someone's job to properly manage hazardous waste, that person would properly handle the hazardous waste. That worker failing to safely store or discard the materials would be like a chef forgetting to turn the stove on when cooking. 

The difference between a hazardous waste worker and a chef, however, is that improperly storing waste can put an entire community in danger. In the case of one Georgia man, he was criminally charged and sentenced to prison for his actions that put the environment and public at risk.

Gas prices in Georgia counties show environmental law conflicts

Without giving a big, detailed overview of how the U.S. government works, it is simple enough to understand that there are state and federal laws. That is true even specifically to environmental laws in Georgia. In fact, did you know that gas prices from county to county in the state might differ because of a tug-of-war between state lawmakers and federal laws?

In general, federal law is the law of the land. Laws in Georgia could differ, but not in more lenient directions. That at least is true in regards to national environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Government can be insufficient source of environmental justice

Different people will answer differently in regards to what they believe is the role of their government. Some might agree that government should work to protect the best interest of its people and land. Again, different people might answer differently about what is in a people's and land's best interests.

When enough people agree, however, that a business' actions are not in the best interest of the environment, the group will look for justice. Justice in environmental law cases can be secured in various ways. The Environmental Protection Agency creates laws. Sometimes, the EPA and other government actions might not be satisfactory enough to environmental enthusiasts.

Safety of drinking water in the U.S. might be lower than believed

Certainly residents of the U.S. are more fortunate than others in different parts of the world regarding our access to and quality of drinking water. Still, National Geographic discusses the potential threats to the U.S. water quality. Some of those supposed health threats are more obvious than others. 

The following are a few of the dangers that might be causing water contamination throughout the country:

Spills

Those who follow environmental stories know that there was a chemical spill in West Virginia in January. The spill contaminated residents' drinking water, making people sick and in-need of medical attention. 

One Georgia project brings county zoning problems to light

There are various types and levels of law. Laws even divide based on the county that one lives in. Your friend who might live only 10 minutes away could have distinct laws that, for example, impact what they can or cannot do with their home.

Zoning laws are the basis of what has become a widely watched dispute in a Georgia community. Residents of and around DeKalb County believe that a serious flaw has been identified regarding land use and zoning decisions in their area.

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