Attorneys representing the Ogeechee Riverkeeper Association filed a petition for mandamus Tuesday in Screven County Superior Court, seeking to force the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to halt a textile company’s discharge of wastewater into the Ogeechee River.
A petition for mandamus asks the court to require a public official to perform a nondiscretionary duty.
King America Finishing, located along the river near Dover, was found to have been releasing waste without a permit after an EPD investigation in May 2011, following a massive fish kill in which about 38,000 fish died downriver of the plant.
EPD officials learned the plant had violated several mandates and had not renewed its permit for several years before the investigation. A consent order to fund $1 million in river improvements was issued, but was appealed.
Earlier this year, EPD withdrew its consent order and proposed a new order. King America was allowed to continue discharging wastewater, but a new consent order will include more stringent monitoring and testing requisites.
Unsatisfied with the measures proposed, Ogeechee Riverkeeper attorneys filed the seven-page petition for mandamus, which in this case, asks the court to stop the EPD from allowing King America Finishing to discharge pollutants without a permit.
“We have tried to work cooperatively with the state to force King America to follow the law, which is very clear that unpermitted discharges are illegal,” says Don Stack, of the Stack & Associates law firm, based in Atlanta. “To date, however, the state has continued to allow this illegal discharge no matter the environmental harm. We therefore are going to ask the court to require EPD to do what it has been unable to do on its own.”
For more, see the Nov. 17 edition of the News.