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HB 857 (LC 45 0479S) & SB 385 (LC 36 4334S)

Updated: Mar 7

To read current version of HB 857, click here

To read current version of SB 385, click here


Background: Madison and Franklin County governments each permitted a biomass power plant to be constructed within the last few years. Georgia Renewable Power promised to be a good neighbor, producing clean, renewable energy, and large tax revenues. However, since both plants came on line, they have produced soot and foul-smelling emissions, unbearable noise, and chemical-filled storm water discharges into our rivers and streams. They are burning wood from construction waste and chemically treated railroad ties. Naphthalene (mothballs) and coal-tar creosote are two of hundreds of chemicals in the emissions from these plants. The area residents have experienced increased among other things, cases of respiratory illnesses, massive fish kills, and beehive depopulation.


The reason why there are extreme physical reactions to these plants is, through loopholes and deregulation of EPA standards, biomass plants are legally permitted to be more polluting than coal plants. Yet the trend toward biomass plants is growing, with the industry targeting rural, cash-poor communities. The Madison County Clean Power Coalition, working with Franklin County, and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) are working to stop permitting in the state of Georgia, the burning of railroad ties, other chemically preserved wood waste, and the proliferation of biomass plant construction. HB 857 is addressing one part of the problem: the prohibition of burning railroad ties as fuel in biomass plants. We have a very limited time - about 15 days - in which to accomplish the goal of getting a bill passed that would prohibit the burning of railroad ties in biomass power plants within the state of Georgia. Therefore, call and email as many as you can on this list. Use this page to help with talking points and contacts.


What we're doing about it: This has affected two Georgia counties, but it is soon to be a statewide problem. Therefore we are calling on residents, farmers, environmental groups, businesses, and others to urge your state senators and representatives to pass this bill quickly. We need a massive and loud effort to protect our citizens, our air, our water, our land, our communities, and ultimately, our state.

  • Click on the links below to either phone and/or email as many as you can in the Georgia Assembly.

  • If you wish, use the short narrative below. You can copy and paste into an email, or you can read if you phone your reps.

Narrative to read or send by email:

We need your immediate help to get passage of the bills. These bills will ban the burning of creosote and naphthalene treated railroad crossties in Georgia biomass power plants. Creosote and naphthalene are known carcinogens.

Madison and Franklin County governments each permitted a biomass power plant to be constructed within the last few years. Both plants in Madison and Franklin counties have begun chipping creosote treated crossties and using them as fuel. We already have had a fish kill in Franklin County from the plant’s runoff leaching into waterways. In addition both counties have also experienced pasture contamination, beehive collapses, and many health effects to humans.


The reason why there are extreme physical reactions to these plants is, through loopholes and deregulation of EPA standards, biomass plants are legally permitted to be more polluting than coal plants. Yet, the trend toward biomass plants is growing, with the industry targeting rural, cash-poor communities. The Madison County Clean Power Coalition, in conjunction with Franklin County, and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) are working to stop permitting in the state of Georgia, the burning of railroad ties, other chemically preserved wood waste. HB 857 and SB 385 addressing one part of the problem: they both prohibit burning railroad ties as fuel in biomass plants.

*Please help us by notifying all representatives, especially the members of the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee in the House, to vote in favor of this bill. Please ask your membership to contact their representatives to back this bill in the House and again when it reaches the Senate.

-or more simply, just write- *We ask you to support HB 857 and SB 385

Thank you very much for your help in this matter (your name)


The text in bold is intentional – This way, even if the person just skims the email, they will still get the main idea.


*Choose one or the other ending for your note. Red goes to organizations, neighbors, etc… The blue statement goes to Georgia State Legislature, but before you send, change text to black, and delete this highlighted portion.


Need a narrative with more info and extra fancy words? -> SuperSize Me


Then, call or email these folks:

GA House of Representative Contacts

GA Senate Contacts

Contact everyone, or check the committees on which legislators serve and contact appropriate members.


If you only wish to contact your own representatives, and you are not sure who they are, click here -> Find my Georgia State Legislator

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