A Proposal for Using Peer Review in the Environmental Permitting Process
The author explains the mounting difficulties of predicting the outcome of environmental permitting decisions as Georgia's growth continues, and environmental capacities are pushed further toward, and beyond, their acceptable limits. At the same time, monitoring information remains incomplete, and conditions required to support vital ecosystem functions are not fully understood. There is a priority need for new methods to help protect the public interest in maintaining environmental quality while making rational permitting decisions affecting natural resources. This paper proposes the use of a peer review process to augment EPD review of critical permit applications, which would improve the reliability of permit decisions while focusing science on the most crucially needed environmental research and monitoring techniques.