St. Johns Riverkeeper Launches Campaign to Stop Georgia-Pacific Pipeline | Business

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St. Johns Riverkeeper Launches Campaign to Stop Georgia-Pacific Pipeline

St. Johns RIVERKEEPER recently announced the Cleaner GP awareness campaign to encourage Georgia-Pacific (GP) to abandon its plans to build a pipeline to the St. Johns River and to pursue alternative solutions to its wastewater pollution problems.  The campaign and website call on citizens to sign a petition to Governor Rick Scott asking him to require further toxicity testing of Georgia-Pacific’s wastewater and to require GP to find an acceptable alternative that will protect the health of the St. Johns River.   

The Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka has been discharging its wastewater into Rice Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns, since 1947.  Unable to meet water quality standards in Rice Creek, Georgia-Pacific (GP) wants to build a pipeline almost four miles long to divert its wastewater into the heart of the St. Johns River.  The proposed pipeline would be a major setback to the ongoing efforts to reduce pollution and restore the health of the St. Johns.   

Neil Armingeon, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, explains, "Building a pipeline to relocate polluted wastewater to the heart of the St. Johns River is not a solution.  This will only add additional pollutants to a river that is already sick.  We believe that viable alternatives exist that would allow GP to meet water quality standards in Rice Creek, keep jobs in Putnam County , and help protect the St. Johns River."  

Determined to find a solution, St. Johns RIVERKEEPER recently hired a team of engineers and water-quality experts to analyze the GP study that was used to justify the pipeline.  The preliminary findings of the St. Johns RIVERKEEPER analysis demonstrate that viable alternatives exist and important questions about the pipeline remain unanswered.   The final results of the technical review will be released soon. 

Peter Thliveros (aka Peter "T"), one of bass fishing's elite professional anglers, is participating in the campaign, as a result of his concerns for the health of the St. Johns and the potential impacts from the pipeline.  "Maintaining our status as the Bass Capital of the World is critical. If people are catching a lot of lunkers, it means that we are taking care of our river," explains Peter.  "It also means big bucks for our region's economy. When the river attracts sportsmen, local businesses benefit. The economic value of the St. Johns and our way of life are way too important to jeopardize with a pipeline."


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