By David Pendered
The Georgia Water Coalition paused from its efforts to promote clean waters to celebrate what it called, “extraordinary efforts [that] have led to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgians.”
The coalition on Tuesday released its fourth annual Clean 13 report to recognize a total of 13 individuals and organizations that have moved the needle in the protection of Georgia’s river and water resources.
Three honorees are outside the normal range of organizations and individuals to be recognized include:
- SouthWings, a group of pilot based in Asheville, N.C. who volunteer their time, skills, planes and fuel to provide an aerial view of environmental challenges that are best appreciated from above. In 2019, SouthWings provided about 87 hours of air time in 29 missions. Several photos from SouthWings trips have been published in SaportaReport to show an environmental challenge;
- Georgia farmers, who united to defeat House Bill 545. Though portrayed as a measure to help hometown farmers, the measure was intended to protect industrial livestock farms by restricting lawsuits against the farms for the noxious runoff from livestock excrement and other matter associated with factory livestock farming;
- The Fall-line Alliance For Clean Energy, which prevailed in a decade-long battle against a proposed coal-fired power plant near Sandersville. State regulators this year refused to extend permits for Plant Washington, which had been the only remaining proposed coal-fired power plant being considered in the U.S.
These three entities represent the growth of the Georgia Water Coalition’s efforts to expand from citing problems, in the annual Dirty Dozen report, to commending good deeds. The state’s environmental community is joining in the growth, according to Joe Cook, Paddle Georgia coordinator with the Georgia River Network.
Over time, the Clean 13 awards have been attracting more nominees than there have been for the Dirty Dozen, Cook said. The Dirty Dozen shines an annual spotlight on 12 entities that are named as polluters of state waters.
“The primary thing I would say is, there is a lot more good news out there than bad news,” Cook said after the recipients were announced in a virtual meeting. He maintained a hopeful outlook.
“There will come a time that some of…