Judge limits Ogeechee riverkeeper's legal standing

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:08 AM
Last updated 6:40 PM
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ATLANTA -- An Atlanta judge has ruled that the Ogeechee Riverkeeper and its members do not have standing to bring a case about the Ogeechee River.

Attorney Don Stack, who represents the Riverkeeper, called the ruling “unbelievable but not surprising.”

“The people who live on the river don’t have standing,” said Hutton Brown, an attorney with GreenLaw who also represented the Riverkeeper. “If they don’t, who does?”

The nonprofit was seeking to challenge the remedy the Georgia Environmental Protection Division reached in September with polluter King America Finishing four months after the largest fish kill in state history left more than 38,000 blistered and bloated fish floating down the black water river.

In an 11-page decision issued Tuesday, Administrative Law Judge Lois Oakley wrote that the Ogeechee Riverkeeper and its members did not meet the legal criteria needed to establish their right to challenge the consent order in court.

The consent order requires King America Finishing, a textile finishing company located in Screven County, to produce $1 million worth of as-yet-undetermined environmental projects on the river. The deal was widely criticized as too lenient on a company that could have been fined as much as $91 million for a fire retardant operation that discharged illegally for five years before it was discovered in investigations following the fish kill.

Without standing, the petition was dismissed. Brown said the Riverkeeper will appeal the decision to Superior Court.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/21/12 - 08:19 am
Judge shopping.

Judge shopping.

REDRIDER 03/21/12 - 09:18 am
Smells Fishy to me. What

Smells Fishy to me. What happened to Transparency.

dichotomy 03/21/12 - 11:26 am
When you create government

When you create government agencies and give them the authority to regulate and oversee every aspect of your life, I guess the courts view that as abdicating your right to get involved in the nanny state's business. If you pay attention to the number of lawsuits that are dismissed because the petitioner "does not have standing" you will realize that you have given up your standing to challenge anything the nanny state, unelected, uncontrolled federal agency bureaucrats do. When you give the government the power, you lose yours. So in this case the judge was legally correct.

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