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Georgia greenies getting powerful ally

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You haven't heard the last of Eric Schaeffer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official who resigned last week in protest of the Bush administration's proposal to weaken clean air laws.

Schaeffer told the Wall Street Journal he's taking a job with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic umbrella group that gives money to nonprofit groups working on environmental, global security and poverty issues.

One of the Rockefeller organizations helps fund the Georgia Environmental Enforcement Project, which, along with the Georgia Public Interest Research Group, does a decent job of pestering the Southern Co. about the tons of air pollution coming from its three coal-burning power plants in Georgia.

While with the EPA, he focused on enforcing a part of the Clean Air Act that could force the Southern Co. and eight other power companies to spend billions of dollars on updating their pollution controls and reducing 4.8 million tons of air pollution a year.

Of all facilities that release toxins into air in Georgia, the top three are Southern Co.'s coal-fired power plants, and 11 Southern Co. plants are responsible for about 74 percent of all the mercury releases in the state, according the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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