AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s being opposed by members of the Spirit Creek Baptist Church: a proposed biofuel plant just east of the historic church.
“Don’t know a lot about it but we need to find out where it’s been done before, what kind of impacts it had, and the main thing is we need community involvement in this,” said Commissioner Tony Lewis.
The unanswered questions are now fueling a call for the city to adopt an environmental justice ordinance that would require potential industries to provide information about the operation to city leaders and the surrounding community.
“So, an Environmental justice ordinance just goes in and asks a key number of questions that should be brought forth to decision makers,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus.
Some commissioners are now ready to put an environmental justice ordinance in place.
“When you’re talking about looking after communities, and particularly communities of color where this has historically been an issue, so we have the opportunity to address environmental justice in the city of Augusta,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.
But those representing the plant say there’s no cause for concern.
“Do we need an environmental Justice ordinance in Richmond County?”
“It’s fine with me if they do this, it’s going to pass all those things anyway. I’m not concerned about that,” said Attorney Ben McElreath.
“I’m not saying we’re opposed to the biodigester, but you should have to tell the community what you are actually bringing in to get special exemptions,” said Bonitatibus.
Commissioners are scheduled to officially begin the debate on the ordinance next week.