Permitting moving forward for the proposed Early County coal plant
By Neil Fleckenstein, Land Conservancy Planning Coordinator
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has issued a permit extension for the construction of the proposed Early County coal plant and approved another permit critical for allowing the plant to move forward. Several groups will be challenging the permit including the Flint Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Chattahoochee. The proposed 1,200 megawatt coal plant is a concern to Tall Timbers and other groups because of the potential that air emissions from the power plant could place portions of southwest Georgia and north Florida in non-attainment for particulate matter. This could negatively affect landowners’ ability to use prescribed fire as an ecologically sound and necessary land management tool.
In addition to the proposed Early County coal plant, a second coal plant is under consideration in southwest Georgia, this one near the town of Fitzgerald, east of Albany. A consortium called Power4Georgians is considering an 850 megawatt coal fired power plant in Ben Hill County on the Ocmulgee River. In nearby Brantley County, the Board of Commissioners recently passed a resolution opposing the plant, citing concerns about the impact of air pollution and mercury contamination of aquatic life in the Satilla River.
Given the potential to affect Tall Timbers’ strategic interests, planning staff will continue to closely monitor this situation and respond appropriately, as directed by the Board. Should you have any questions concerning this important issue, please contact Tall Timbers Land Conservancy Planning Coordinator, Neil Fleckenstein, at 850-893-4153, ext. 335.