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Atlanta Environmental Law Blog

Land development on Georgia's coastlines must meet certain laws

Georgia's coastlines remained relatively untouched for a long time. Then, land development began in these beautiful areas. People wanted, and do want, to enjoy their beauty, but that can only happen if everyone obeys the rules put into place in order to preserve the majestic vistas.

As more people move into the area and it becomes more of a tourist area, changes to the coastlines have already occurred. In order to preserve this environment, developers need to make sure that they adhere to strict environmental laws. Knowing which laws apply to a particular development is often the challenge.

Sometimes, it takes a little help to combat pollution

School districts across the country, including those here in Georgia, often find their budgets spread thin. This does not leave much, if any, extra money available to be concerned with environmental issues. Sometimes, school districts need a little help in order to do what they can to combat pollution -- specifically from the buses the kids ride every day during the school year.

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to change that. Numerous school districts across the country are receiving rebates to replace their diesel-fueled buses under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Many school districts support the act, but do not have the funds to replace their buses.

Environmental law violations settled by car dealerships

Like just about everywhere else in the country, Georgia car dealerships provide maintenance and repair services to their customers. Anything from fluid changes to tire and brake replacements can be taken care of at these establishments. As such, these dealerships must adhere to environmental law when it comes to the storage and disposal of the waste products generated as part of vehicle repairs and maintenance.

Substances such as oil and transmission fluids, along with materials such as tires, are made up of components and ingredients harmful to the environment and people. For this reason, both federal and state governments often strictly regulate how those hazardous materials are required to be handled by auto dealerships. Sporadic or routine inspections may occur to ensure the applicable regulations are followed.

An EMS can help you stay in compliance with environmental laws

Yours may be one of the many businesses that faces environmental law compliance issues from both the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Georgia. Because of this, you may decide to take proactive steps to ensure that your company doesn't violate any environmental regulations. As an added benefit, you could streamline your processes and perhaps save some money as well.

The implementation of an environmental management system contains built-in evaluations and reviews that allow your organization to optimize its environmental performance and make sure that it remains in compliance with all applicable laws. You can tailor an EMS to the specific needs of your company, but you may find it useful to understand the basic elements of one as a place to start.

Protecting the environment may be a job for Georgia's trees

Georgia has some of the most beautiful wetland forests in the nation. Residents and tourists alike can take paddling trips through the forests, but in some areas, land owners have cut down the trees to sell for lumber. What they may not realize is that the monetary value of the trees' capability of protecting the environment may make the forests more valuable than lumber.

A study done in the southeastern region of the nation determined that Georgia's trees are worth approximately $67.3 billion. That value is derived from the environmental protection they provide to the state. They combat flooding, provide recreation and filter drinking water.

River pollution is a primary concern here in Georgia

You may be one of the thousands who moved to Georgia for its beauty, business environment or other opportunities. In any case, the increase in the region's population has increased concern over the waterways in this state and elsewhere in the area. River pollution could affect not only the availability of clean drinking water, but also the local environment.

With the influx of businesses and residents, a corresponding increase in waste occurs. State and federal laws govern the storage, disposal, treatment and transportation of that waste. Businesses, governments and others may be required to adhere to environmental laws in order to reduce the potential for pollution that affects the water systems throughout the state.

Does the state fall short in protecting the environment?

Hazardous waste is an issue in nearly every state, and Georgia is no exception. In fact, it is estimated that cleanup is needed at approximately 500 sites here in the state due to hazardous waste. The problem is that the monies that are supposed to go to that cleanup do not always end up furthering cleanup efforts. Does this mean that the state is falling short of its obligations when it comes to protecting the environment?

Estimates indicate that approximately $14.5 million was set aside to clean up Georgia's hazardous waste sites. The problem is that only around half that amount actually goes to those efforts. The state's general fund uses the rest for other things.

Tire pile raises issues of environmental law

The Georgia Department of Transportation has its work cut out for it. Along with the Environmental Protection Division and the Department of Natural Resources in metro Atlanta, an investigation is underway to determine who violated environmental law by dumping thousands of tires on property recently abandoned by GDOT. Not only are the tires an eyesore, but they are a health hazard, a fire hazard and an environmental danger.

After moving from the maintenance facility on a strip of property between a senior retirement community and soccer fields, GDOT used gates and chains to keep trespassers off the unused property. However, someone broke through the gates and began systematically dumping tires on the land. Currently, a river of an estimated 15,000 tires winds through the property.

Efforts to further combat pollution from coal ash continue

Coal has been a source of power across the country for quite some time. When many Georgia residents turn on the lights, it is due to coal. The problem is that burning coal for this purpose produces a great deal of coal ash. In order to combat pollution from this problem, cleanup efforts are in progress. However, some believe those efforts are inadequate.

The coal ash contains byproducts such as arsenic, mercury and lead, which could harm people as well as the environment. Up until now, Georgia Power has stored its coal ash in ponds that mix the ash with water, which could cause spills, leaks and potentially end up in the groundwater. Very little oversight was used in this process. The ponds did not even contain liners, and the groundwater was not tested to determine whether there was a problem.

Are you neighbors' activities keeping you up at night?

Does your neighbor like to work on vehicles at all hours of the day and night? Does your neighbor play drums until 3 a.m.? Does your neighbor use seemingly, unnaturally bright spot lights for security that stream into your windows all night? Do you find yourself wondering what that foul odor is that seems to be coming from your neighbor's property?

Perhaps you have talked to your neighbors about the noise, the smells and the lights, but to no avail. Your pleas may fall on deaf ears, and you may believe that this is how your life will be. Fortunately, that may not be the case.

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