GA Senate panel seeks to block landfills near Satilla River

Legislation that would prevent new landfills from being built near the Satilla River in southeast Georgia is advancing at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 384, sponsored by Sen. William Ligon, a Republican from Brunswick, was approved unanimously by the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee on Tuesday. It could soon move to the full Senate for more debate.

The bill would prohibit landfills, including coal ash and other types of municipal solid waste facilities, from being constructed within 3 miles (4.82 kilometers) from the highwater mark of the river. It wouldn’t impact any facilities currently in operation.

“This is a bill to work to protect one of the vital areas of our state, the Satilla River corridor. It’s a unique area because it’s what we call a blackwater river, which means that it has a low level of dissolved oxygen,” Ligon said.

“Our coastal blackwater rivers like the Satilla are a special resource for the state,” said Satilla Riverkeeper Laura Early, who advocates for the protection and restoration of the Satilla River. “Those clear dark waters, the white sandbars and great fishing opportunities are something that attract folks from across the state and beyond to this great recreational opportunity.”