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Giving Georgia's Environment Its Day In Court
News and Events March 2013
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GreenLaw was recently the only organization to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Atlanta's clean air re-designation. We filed our comments on March 6 on behalf of Mothers and Others for Clean Air and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club.


The EPA recently issued a proposed rule to re-designate the Atlanta area to attainment from non attainment, signifying that it believes the air quality in Atlanta is clean compared to the National Ambien Air Quality Standard set in 1997. The agency's decision was based on data from 2008 through 2010.


In order to re-designate an area, the EPA must conclude that decreases were due to permanent and enforceable emissions reductions. Further, the EPA must find that an area has the proper plans in place, and that a re-designation determination will not affect levels of other pollutants.

GreenLaw challenged the re-designation as faulty on the following grounds:

  • Georgia's re-designation fails to consider that the most recent ambient monitoring data shows that metro Atlanta's air is once again unsafe to breath;
  • Georgia's re-designation submittal fails to demonstrate that past reductions in levels of harmful ozone were not due to temporary factors such as the Great Recession and weather patterns;
  • Georgia's re-designation submittal fails to contain a complete state implementation plan and maintenance plan; and
  • Georgia's re-designation submittal fails to consider what impacts the proposed re-designation would have on reducing dangerous levels of other pollutants. 

The truth is that Atlanta's air is filled with harmful pollutants that can cause health problems for millions of Georgians.  We hope that EPA will carefully review recent air quality data and push the state for a more robust plan to improve air quality for future generations.


Stephanie Stuckey Benfield
GreenLaw, Executive Director

In the News 
Sierra Club Lobs CAA Suit at EPA Chief Over Coal Plants
Learn about the suit GreenLaw filed on behalf of the Sierra Club, which claims the EPA failed to act on Georgia's plan for meeting Clean Air Act standards and didn't respond to the Sierra Club's opposition to Southern Co. power plants.
 Judge gives lawyers more time in Ogeechee Case
Follow the latest news in the ongoing litigation regarding the largest fish kill in Georgia history. Read the full Savannah Morning News article here.


Social Justice, Environmental Justice and Minority Health

GreenLaw's MaKara Rumley presented at a recent symposium during Black History Month. Read more on cleanenergy.org's blog.


Upcoming Events


March 26 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Restless Fires Book Event

Join the Georgia Sierra Club and the Carter Center for a discussion with John Hunt as he shares his new book, Restless Fires: John Muir's Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf. Click here for details.




March 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Natural Communities of Georgia Book Signing 

Join the Georgia Wildlife Federation for a book signing and discussion with the authors and photographers behind the new book, Natural Communitites of Georgia. Click here for more information.



April 6th and 7th

Weekend for Rivers

Join the Georgia River Network for the annual Weekend for Rivers at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Ga. Click here to register.

GreenLaw: Giving Georgia's Environment Its Day in Court
In This Issue
In the News
Legislative Update

Legislative Update 
GreenLaw is a member of the Georgia Water Coalition's leadership team and has been working closely with the coalition this legislative session to promote clean water issues under the Gold Dome. Of particular interest to GreenLaw is the Emergency Response bill (HB 549), which relates to our Ogeechee River fish kill case, and revisions to the Coastal Marshland and Shoreline Protection Act (HB 402), which impacts the work we're doing to protect Jekyll Island from overdevelopment. Click here to read about these two bills. 


Thanks to the Georgia Water Coalition and Neill Herring with the Sierra Club for providing content for the legislative updates.


 Out & About


GreenLaw recently co-hosted a lunch with Georgia State University featuring Dr. Ben Santer, atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. John Sibley, Senior Policy Fellow at Southface, led the discussion on climate change, Santer's early research contributed to the "discernible human influence" conclusion of the 1995 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His recent work has included research on "human fingerprints" in observed records of climate change.


Click here to watch the video of Dr. Santer's discussion.


Stephanie Goes to the White House 


GreenLaw's executive director, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, was honored to be part of the White House's 2nd Annual Summit on Women and the Environment.  Here she is with the other participants from Georgia; Angelou Ezeilo, founder of the Greening Youth Foundation; and Gwen Keyes-Fleming, EPA Region IV Director.  Participants heard from a variety of speakers, including Gina McCarthy, nominee for EPA Director.


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