Environmental issues in the 2005 Georgia legislature
Bethea, Sally S.
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The 2005 session of the Georgia General Assembly was historic in a number of ways, including a “New Georgia” Republican leadership of both chambers and in the office of the Governor. For the first time since 1877, the Party of Lincoln now controls two branches of our state government. In addition, legislators were elected in brand-new districts, drawn by a federal court, which resulted in a record number of new members. Top environmental issues in 2005 related to funding, protection of property values, and open government. The Governor and the legislature did restore some of the solid waste and hazardous waste trust funds to the programs under which they were collected, but the problem of collections exceeding appropriations for those activities persists. An alternative funding source to support the permitting programs of the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) through wastewater discharge permit fees (HB 550) was introduced by an impressive bi-partisan list of legislators, but it was not allowed to come to a vote in committee because of resistance from the “regulated community”.