Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage, Times-Union columnist
It's mind-boggling that this is still being talked about.
It's even more mind-boggling that the inappropriately named Florida Department of Environmental Protection has given its blessing to a plan by the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka to dump its polluted wastewater into the middle of the St. Johns River.
Opponents of the Georgia-Pacific proposal had hoped a stake had been driven through the heart of this insanity several years ago, but unfortunately it's still alive and kicking.
In case you've forgotten, Georgia-Pacific wants to build a 4-mile pipeline from its mill to the middle of the St. Johns River.
In the mid-1990s, the company asked the DEP for a permit to build the pipeline and to dump up to 60 million gallons of poisonous effluent into the river every day. That would be 22 BILLION gallons a year.
For 50 years, the company had been dumping the junk into Rice Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns, pretty much destroying the creek as habitat for everything but mutated fish.
Fearing tougher water quality standards for tributaries, Georgia-Pacific faced a dilemma: Either do a better job of cleaning up its wastewater or find some place else to put it.
Bingo. Georgia-Pacific opted for the inanity that the solution to pollution is dilution and chose to build a pipeline.
Then the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said, hold on, the better approach is to do a better job of treating the effluent.
After several years of head-banging negotiations …