ProPublica discusses how A Power Company’s Quiet Land-Buying Spree Could Shield It From Coal Ash Cleanup Costs. Georgia Power paid top dollar to buy land from residents living near waste sites at its power plants. Environmentalists fear it’s a tactic to forestall the cleanup bill from new regulations for coal ash.
Over the past several years, utility giant Georgia Power has embarked on an unusual buying spree, paying top dollar for people’s property in places where cheap land was easy to find.
In 2016, it bought a veterinarian’s 5-acre lot in the rolling hills of northwest Georgia for roughly double the appraised value. The following year, it acquired 28 acres of flood-prone land in southwest Georgia’s pecan belt for nearly four times what the local tax assessor said it was worth. By the year after that, it had paid millions of dollars above the appraised value for hundreds of acres near a winding gravel road in a central Georgia town with no water lines and spotty cellphone service.