Week 8, Ending March 8, 2019
Thursday, February 28 this past week was that important annual legislative date we call “crossover day” in the Georgia General Assembly. Any bills not passed by either the House or Senate have no chance of being signed into law by Governor Kemp. Sometime that’s a good thing, except of course unless its legislation I am working on. That is said only partially tongue-in-cheek.
A Crisis in House Leadership
Because of the stand I and others have taken publicly regarding a serious crisis in our State General Assembly leadership at the highest levels, important legislation I have been working on in behalf of the citizens of Georgia is “politically” stuck, and will not move in 2019. I could easily spend this entire newsletter discussing this issue, so much more information that the public has yet to hear, but instead please indulge me while I share one particularly inspiring, but typical, comment I received from a District 167 supporter, and then I will move on to other important state matters:
“Thanks, Jeff. And thank you for standing up for all of us in your efforts to assure that our state leaders are worthy of honor. I stand with you.” - Mark N. Glynn County, GA
Two Georgia Power plants, Wansley and Yates, sit along the banks of Chattahoochee River. (© Craig Tanner)
Atlanta, GA—At least 10 of Georgia Power’s toxic, unlined coal ash ponds sit dangerously close to the groundwater beneath them, according to the utility’s recent filings required under the federal Coal Combustion Residuals rule.
According to the utility’s disclosures for 10 of its 29 coal ash ponds statewide, all 10 ponds fail to comply with the location restriction that requires at least a five-foot buffer between the bottom of a coal ash pond and the underlying groundwater aquifer. In at least some cases, the coal ash ponds appear to be sitting in groundwater.
“Georgia Power’s coal ash ponds were built in the worst places possible – near streams, lakes, floodplains, next to rivers, and right above groundwater, and we now know that at least 10 of its ponds sit too close to the groundwater aquifer,” said SELC Senior Attorney Chris Bowers. “Where Georgia Power plans to just cap many of its unlined coal ash ponds in place, the utility’s own disclosures show the danger this ill-advised strategy poses to Georgia communities.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, September 17, 2018
Contact: Betsy Theroux
Rep. Jeff Jones to Reintroduce Legislation to Protect State’s Water Supply, Issues Statement on Collapse of Coal Ash Landfill
ATLANTA – State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) today announced that he will reintroduce legislation in the 2019 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly that will focus on protecting the state’s water supplies from heavy metal toxicity that exists in coal ash.Read more
For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2018
For More Information: Jennette Gayer
Bills to Protect Communities from Coal Waste Introduced
Georgia Water Coalition applauds legislators for taking steps to protect communities and waterways
Atlanta, GA—The Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) applauds state Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) and a bipartisan list of cosponsors for their work to protect communities around Georgia from the toxic contaminants found in coal ash. After working to address concerns from Georgia Power and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division regarding legislation filed last year, Representative Jones introduced two bills that will help keep coal ash out of the water in which we swim and from which we drink, and people informed about coal ash present in their communities.Read more
Pictured: Laura Early of Satilla Riverkeepers, Woody Beck our SouthWings Pilot, Jen Hilburn of Altamaha Riverkeepers and Rep. Jeff Jones.
November 06, 2017 5:39 PM
As the late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass., famously observed, “All politics is local.” That observation is frequently validated all over the country, including, at the moment, the state of Georgia.
Georgia might be a Red state, but at least one part of it (and almost certainly more) wants Washington to hang on to at least some Blue policy for at least a while longer. And with very good reason.
Late last month, three coastal Georgia members of the General Assembly — Reps. Jeff Jones and Don Hogan of St. Simons, and Sen. Jason Spencer of Woodbine — sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Rep. Buddy Carter asking them to oppose an announced plan by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to weaken regulations governing coal ash discharge.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Contact: Betsy Lynch
Rep. Jeff Jones Applauds Republic Services’ Decision to Withdraw Coal Ash Disposal Permit Applications
ATLANTA – State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) today commended Republic Services Corporation’s recent decision to withdraw three pending coal ash disposal permit applications. These permit applications would have allowed Republic Services, a waste management company, to dispose coal ash at its Broadhurst Environmental Landfill in Wayne County, near Jesup, Georgia.
On Monday, March 6, 2017 we reconvened both the Georgia House and Senate at the State Capitol in Atlanta to begin the 9th Week (legislative days 29 - 31) of the 2017 session. The last time you heard from me in my “weekly” newsletters was at the conclusion of week 6, for week ending February 17; so I am behind by three weeks in updating you on Legislative activities. But not-to-worry, I am not going to cover every nitty-gritty detail for the past three weeks. It would likely put you to sleep.
In these past three weeks, leading up to Day 28 or “Crossover Day” on March 3, 2017, I and many other House and Senate members worked long hours to perfect sponsored legislation, to get the bills voted favorably out of sub-committee and full committee by testifying on our sponsored legislation, then work to get them on the Rules Calendar to be voted on and passed out of the full House, in my case. The legislative goal is to get all of this done by Crossover Day.
Highway 17 widening project, Glynn County:
a meeting was held in Glynn County on March 9 hosted by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) as GDOT finalizes plans to widen Highway 17 from Yacht Road to intersection of Highway 99.
Many citizens object to the GDOT’s plan which entails installing a raised median the full length of the project with very limited turn access as the roadway is widened to four lanes. In some cases, this means residents will need to turn right out of their neighbors, and drive two miles to the first turn opening to make a U-Turn to be able to go in the direction they originally intended. In many other cases, shoppers who wish to visit one of the many businesses that have operated for years along the roadway, will not be able to turn into the business without driving well beyond the business, then making a U-Turn to get back to the business.
For the past couple of years, I have been working with area residents and GDOT engineers in support of an alternative plan which entails adding a CENTER TURN lane the majority length of the project, perhaps selectively building a RAISED MEDIAN in stretches of the roadway where it will not adversely affect residents or businesses.
At this point, GDOT is not in favor of the alternate center turn lane plan. Interested citizens can voice their concerns and ideas to GDOT by the DEADLINE of March 23, 2017:
At the bottom, select “Glynn County” and hit GO;
At the bottom, select “SR 25/US 17 WIDENING AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT"
Finally, select “Comment”.
2) Mail your comment to:
Mr. Eric Duff, GDOT
600 W Peachtree St. NW, 16th Fl
Atlanta, GA 30308
Rep. Jeff Jones pledges to work to protect Georgia from potential coal ash disposal problems by sponsoring three pieces of coal-ash related legislation, to be introduced to the Georgia House of Representatives this session: