Ogeechee Riverkeeper's lawsuit over fish kill could affect company's investment

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An environmental group’s challenge to a Georgia Environmental Protection Division consent order could delay or void a Screven County industry’s pledge to invest $1 million in projects benefiting the Ogeechee River, according to a company statement.

The order between EPD and King America Finishing was signed in September after a lengthy investigation into a fish kill in May in which about 38,000 fish died along a 70-mile stretch of the river.

The company did not acknowledge direct responsibility for the fish kill but agreed to address and correct violations of the state Water Quality Control Act that included the discharge of ammonia, formaldehyde and other substances into the river – and to invest at least $1 million in unspecified “supplemental environmental projects” that will improve compliance.

Ogeechee Riverkeeper’s Oct. 21 lawsuit contends state regulators were too lax on the company and asked that an administrative law judge throw out the order and force EPD to reconsider its enforcement options.

In a written statement, King America said it is disappointed in the Riverkeeper group’s challenge.

“Rather than work with King America in a cooperative fashion to develop water-related, environmentally beneficial projects totaling at least $1 million in the Ogeechee River watershed, the Riverkeeper has instead chosen to pursue litigation that appears to be directed more at the alleged shortcomings of EPD officials than an actual attack on the substance of a consent order,” the statement said.

Any progress on the improvements mandated in the order will be halted while the matter is litigated, the statement said.

The company said it is unaware of any actions that polluted the river or killed fish. State authorities have said the fish died from a bacterial disease induced by environmental stresses.

Low flows in the river and unseasonably warm weather might also have played a role, the consent order said.

EPD has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers said Wednesday.

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jamesnewsome
38
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jamesnewsome 11/03/11 - 07:25 am
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King America killed 70 miles

King America killed 70 miles of river, endangered the lives of everyone using the river downstream, added contamination to a fragile coastal ecosystem, and they are "unaware of any actions that polluted the river or killed the fish?" Please!

As it turns out the company has been dumping lethal doses of formaldehyde into the river for years, operating two production lines without a proper permit, and they are "unaware of any actions that polluted the river or killed any fish?"

Also at fault here is an incompetent GA EPD, which according to King America knew they were dumping formaldehyde in the river. I guess that's yet to be proven. GA EPD also failed to act quickly enough to warn citizens downstream of the problem last summer, thus endangering even more lives.

Interestingly, King America has not made any public statement about the fish kill until ORK filled suit. NOW if you are to believe King America, they have done nothing wrong, but they would like to spend $1 million for environmental issues and the Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization is now the culprit.

Read the rest of the story at http://www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org/

King America would like for us to turn a blind eye towards this problem while they turn the Ogeechee River into Georgia's version of Love Canal. Actually, the once beautiful Ogeechee River is so polluted already that it is not safe to eat fish in many areas because of mercury pollution.

Now 70 miles of the 294 mile river is dead and still being polluted by King America with deadly chemicals. All the while, communities downstream are extract drinking water from the river, adjacent property owners with wells are being polluted, and the most communities along the river dump their "treated" sewage water back in the river.

And, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization with a sole mission of trying to keep the river safe and clean for future generations is the bad guy? I think not!

Little Lamb
45789
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Little Lamb 11/03/11 - 07:31 am
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Do you have any evidence that

Do you have any evidence that King America is dumping the mercury into the Ogeechee?

jamesnewsome
38
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jamesnewsome 11/03/11 - 07:59 am
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I didn't say that King

I didn't say that King America is dumping Mercury in the river. I said that the river is "so polluted already that it is not safe to eat fish in many areas because of mercury pollution."

"According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 99% of the mercury in the Ogeechee River system comes from air pollution. The biggest sources of mercury to our air are coal fired power plants."

http://www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org/mercury

Little Lamb
45789
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Little Lamb 11/03/11 - 08:07 am
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That's what I thought. The

That's what I thought. The reason I asked the question is because the first two words in your paragraph about mercury pollution are "King America." Paragraphs are supposed to express a single thought or point. By tying King America and mercury pollution together in the same paragraph, you make an association that is incorrect.

Riverman1
83469
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Riverman1 11/03/11 - 10:58 am
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"Low flows in the river and

"Low flows in the river and unseasonably warm weather might also have played a role, the consent order said."

What's that about reducing flow in the Savannah?

smith889169@bellsouth.net
0
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smith889169@bellsouth.net 11/03/11 - 11:13 am
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I have been hearing for

I have been hearing for several years that King Finishing was polluting the Ogeechee and that this pollution was reported repeatedly to EPD. As is the pattern for EPD, they did nothing until the river was in a critical condition. And as usual the offending company denies that the poisons they are putting into the water was the cause of the problem and gets off, via a consent agreement, with out having to admit guilt and with a virtual slap on the hand. My family was involved in a similar situation on the Canoochee River and a poultry processing plant. As soon as EPD knew that a lawsuit was being filed, they jumped in quickly with a consent agreement.
King Finishing should step up and admit their wrong doing and set about to rectify the situation. They need to stop all pollution of the river and sincerely try to clean up the mess as well as upgrade their systems so that this kind of thing doesn't continue.
When will "we the people" realize that we can not survive without clean water and that wildlife depends on these waters for their very existance? Talk about animal cruelty! What if your only water supply was contaminated with these chemicals? It was not only fish that suffered and died, but those wild creatures who ate the fish were made sick and some died. Owls were seen acting strangly while sitting on the edge of the river with a dead fish in it's claws. So you can figure that the other birds of prey and animals eating the fish, were adversly affected.
As long as we don't take a stand and DEMAND that these companies change their uncaring attitude all for the sake of the almighty dollar, AND demand that EPD do their job, nothing will change.

newman5
0
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newman5 11/03/11 - 02:56 pm
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Funny how dissenting comments

Funny how dissenting comments disappear from this site unless you are bashing corporate America...

Little Lamb
45789
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Little Lamb 11/03/11 - 04:37 pm
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You have to learn how to

You have to learn how to dissent in a pleasant manner.

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