Ogeechee Riverkeeper versus King America Finishing
Induced human disaster. In a community held meeting March 5, Ogeechee River residents were able to speak up and voice their complains and concerns against King America Finishing and the largest fish kill and environmental disaster May 2011. Effingham Country High School where the meeting was held, became one of biting hot debate over the toxic dumping which continues. The residents no longer want to live in the state public health alarm in terms of the river and the damage the pollutants have caused the wildlife, the people and their property.
Flame retardant is small doses causes brain damage
In Colorado in 2002 an accidental dumping of 1000-2000 gallons of flame retardant in Oregon’s Fall River killing all of the fish in the river. In 2009 flame retardant was used in aerial attacks to put out fires and 50 steehead trout turned up dead in the Santa Ynez River near Santa Barbara, California. In turn the Forest Service adopted rules, as a result of the most recent lawsuit, in which flame retardant would no longer be dumped within 300 feet of streams and lakes.
What the Georgia Environmental Protection looks the other way over has the residents in an outrage because their pleas go unheard to clean up the site and to stop the dangerous chemicals from continuously be spread throughout the surrounding land and the waters of the mighty Ogeechee River. If the Georgia EPD will not hear it, see it and feel the poison in the water, who will? It’s an ecological disaster that is getting worse. The EPD says they will consider the comments being made until March 15th and a decision will be made on the consent order in a few months.
King America Finishing received a palsy “fix the river for $1 million” slap on the hand compared to the charges, fines and immediate cleanup which should have occurred. The residents have not noticed a cleanup conducive to the blatant disregard for toxic flame retardant dumping in the Ogeechee River destroying 35,000 fish and other wildlife. This was no small fish kill that could be passed off as “ a little something bad in the water.” Do you know what 35,000 dead fish look like? Just how many fish does it take to make a fish community in a river as ancient as the Ogeechee?
From the manner in which DDT was discovered to be hazardous by Paul Herman Muller (he received a Nobel Prize for his efforts) Georgia EPD needs to recognize the detriment dumping flame retardant is causing the and the fish kill is just the first sign of it yet to come. The United States has had to cleanup the Agent Orange left in Vietnam in the sixties, costing $43 million, a simple case of pay $1 million in restoration isn’t going to make this toxic dumping go away with or without a permit. It’s an environmental issue that needs to be dealt with responsibly and “ifso facto.”
“The EPD is letting King Finishing America dump flame retardant without a permit right now.” –Ogeechee Riverkeeper Executive Director Emily Markesteyn. “Until that stops we can’t even think of remediation and restoration of the Ogeechee River.”
The need to pursue efforts to overcome the aftermath of toxic substances left by dumping should be underscored by Georgia EPD. The Ogeechee River is not a graveyard for flame retardant. King Finishing America should be transparent and open to the residents and the public since we’re not so sure about Georgia EPD, and the people should have all the information they need in order to know what is happening. A high-profile investigation should be done to calm fears, it greatly affects the survival of wildlife and the people of the Ogeechee River communities.
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