SHARECOMMENTMORE

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Gov. Nathan Deal said recently that environmental lawsuits are to blame for the rising cost of building a nuclear plant in eastern Georgia, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

Speaking to reporters last week, the Republican governor accused environmental groups of increasing the cost of expanding Plant Vogtle by filing lawsuits against the project. Deal said he found it ironic that the groups he accused of starting costly litigation were then complaining about cost.

The evidence contradicts his claim.

None of the legal challenges filed by environmentalists against the project has gotten far.

The Southern Co. utility has blamed the cost overruns on licensing delays and production problems, not environmental lawsuits. A state monitor has not cited environmental litigation as a cost driver.