More than 4.5 million tons of coal ash — waste from coal-fired plants that may contain toxic heavy metals —have been dumped in Georgia landfills, according to data from the EPD.
Coal ash has received a lot of attention during this legislative season,after residents of Juliette, Georgia raised concerns about their water supply, which they believe is contaminated by coal ash stored at Georgia Power's Plant Scherer.
>> Related: Juliette residents ask Gov. Kemp, lawmakers to take action on coal ash
But while three bills related to management of coal ash at Georgia Power plants passed the House, they have not recieved a hearing in the Senate.
>>Read More: House, Senate pass bills on coal ash management, monitoring
Several additional bills were added to Senate Bill 123 including House Bill 926, that restores the previous rates on fees collected by the state on solid waste disposal and new tire sales. The fees, which were set to decrease on July 1, will instead revert to $0.75 per ton for solid waste and $1 per tire on the sale of new tires. The fees respectively fund the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund which is adminstered by the Environmental Protection Division to remediate contaminated sites statewide and the Solid Waste Trust Fund which is designed to fund clean-ups of tire dumps.
A final bill, Senate Bill 356, which was also added, would allow McIntosh County to expand their current landfill that sits near the U.S. Marine Corps. bombing range in Townsend where military aircrews from more than six states go for training. Ligon said the county would have to spend millions of dollars to build a new landfill. The bill would allow any existing municipal solid waste landfill to expand to areas within two miles of military air space used as bombing ranges.
Senate Bill 123 now moves to the House Rules Committee to schedule for a possible vote from the full House.