January 26, 2011: We have launched a Cleaner GP awareness campaign to encourage Georgia-Pacific (GP) to abandon its plans to build a pipeline to the St. Johns River and to pursue alternative solutions to its wastewater pollution problems.  As part of the the Cleaner GP campaign, we are asking our members and the public to sign a petition to Governor Rick Scott asking him to require further toxicity testing of Georgia-Pacific’s wastewater and to require GP to find an acceptable alternative that will protect the health of our river.

The Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka has been discharging its wastewater into Rice Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns, since 1947. Unable to meet water quality standards in Rice Creek, Georgia-Pacific (GP) has been proposing a pipeline for over a decade to divert its wastewater into the heart of the St. Johns River. Recently, GP announced that they are ready to begin construction of the pipeline.

Building a pipeline is not a solution to a pollution problem and would be a major setback to the ongoing efforts to restore the health of our river. This will only add additional pollutants to a river that is already sick. We believe that viable alternatives exist that would allow GP to meet water quality standards in Rice Creek, keep jobs in Putnam County , and help protect the St. Johns River.

In fact, St. Johns RIVERKEEPER recently hired a team of engineers and water-quality experts to analyze the GP study that was used to justify the pipeline. The preliminary findings of the analysis indicate that viable alternatives exist and important questions about the pipeline remain unanswered. The final results of our technical review will be released soon.

We are also pleased to announce that Peter Thliveros (aka Peter "T"), one of bass fishing's elite professional anglers, is participating in the campaign with us. As someone who grew up on the river and makes his living fishing, he has real concerns about the health of the St. Johns and the potential impacts from the pipeline.

Get informed and get involved by contacting Governor Scott.  Together, we can stop the pipeline and find a reasonable solution that will protect the St. Johns River.