Feds might yank Ogeechee permit, Isakson says

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 3:21 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 4:59 PM
  • Follow Metro

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is reviewing whether to call for federal involvement in blocking a permit to discharge into the Ogeechee River by the company responsible for the state’s largest fish kill.

The Georgia Republican assigned his staff to research the issues regarding federal pre-emption of state authority in the matter.

“I’ve got one of my staff people in Washington working on it,” he said.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a permit this month to King American Finishing. After the 2011 fish kill, the company agreed to give the state $1 million for environmental recovery but denied any wrongdoing.

State officials say the new permit has tougher restrictions than the one the company was using when it exceeded previous limits on contaminants that killed thousands of fish. State investigators discovered the company was using an unpermitted discharge into the river at the time.

Federal law allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delegate to states power to enforce federal water and air-quality laws.

“The EPA at the federal level can intercede,” Isakson said. “It doesn’t have to intercede.”

The senator said it was an ironic setting when a woman from the Ogeechee area asked him to get involved.

“I was just made aware of that at a fish fry in Perry,” he said.

At least one environmental legal expert believes the federal government will not get involved.

“It is primarily a state matter,” said Hutton Brown, an attorney with the GreenLaw legal-advocacy organization in Atlanta.

Comments (3) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/14/12 - 04:10 pm

Screven and Jenkins counties are already depressed enough. You don't need to close down a factory just because of one error. Thanks a lot, Johnny.


pwren46 08/14/12 - 04:36 pm
Apparently Little Lamb, you

Apparently Little Lamb, you have not familiarized yourself with this story. Your "one error" was 5 years of unpermitted dumping of illegal chemicals into the Ogeechee River. It only caught up with them because the level of chemical concentration spiked this year because of the low river flow due to the drought.

OhWell 08/14/12 - 05:23 pm
LL you apparently do not know

LL you apparently do not know people on a first and basis from Jenkins County. They love the Ogeechee River and no matter what this might mean on an economic basis some of us would love to see the enviromental hazard taken care of.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs