2/16: Give water polluters options?

Moderated by Rick Badie

State Sen. Rick Jeffares has proposed legislation that gives water polluters options to avoid paying fines if they clean up spills.

The bill, he says, would allow municipalities and governments to respond more efficiently to crises.

Some environmentalists say Senate Bill 269 guts state law. Ogeechee Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp explains that view.

What do you think?

9 comments Add your comment

Barb

February 16th, 2012
2:12 pm

I think SB 269 is just one more way to let polluters off the hook with unlimited six month extensions and no fines. I agree that polluters should have both fines and specific deadlines where they clean up the mess at their own expense. Maybe with more teeth in the law, they’ll think twice about polluting in the first place.

SAWB

February 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

“I wish there was a way to let you Smart Ass White Boys drink toxic water without endangering the rest of us. Maybe separate water fountains for SAWB and Humans Beings.”

Actually I don’t drink municipal water that stuff is dirty.

Look my point was not to allow people to continue polluting, but to force them to fix the systems that are the source of the problem. Georgia’s biggest polluters are no longer point source like industry, but nonpoint source polluters like runoff in storm sewers or combined sewer systems. I remember when the City of Atlanta was dumping large amounts of raw sewage into our waterways via their outdated combined system. The EDP fined them and they gladly paid the fines, but never repaired the sewer systems since paying the fine was cheaper than making the repair. If memory severs me the EPA actually had to sue them to finally force them to make repairs.

too little time

February 16th, 2012
12:43 pm

How about fines and FORCED to clean up spills?

Gordon Rogers

February 16th, 2012
10:49 am

Hillbilly D is correct. In almost any other law enforcement action, the repeat offender or the egregious offender has to do jail time, pay restitution, and pay a fine. Should not a polluter, one who is using everyone else’s water to dump their foul waste, in order to make a higher profit, pay both a fine AND clean up their mess? And, if your attitude is ‘well, that might be appropriate for a for-profit, corporate polluter, but not for a municipal plant’, you are missing the point: fines are meant to get one’s attention, make one sit up, take notice, the take action to keep it from happening again. In the case of a muni, county, authority, or other public plant, it is the PUBLIC (read: taxpayers, ratepayers) that take notice, and throw the bums out that are running the system if they cannot clean it up, run it correctly, and it is the PUBLIC that must decide: do I put up with the fines, or agree to raise rates/taxes so that my downstream neighbors can have clean water, too? Answer these question, honestly, in your own mind, and you will quickly see that an endless stream of consent orders with no teeth is not the answer. — Gordon Rogers

Katherine Helms Cummings

February 16th, 2012
10:33 am

The EPD isn’t in the business of protecting our water, air, or citizen health (all three are part of their vision statement). DB 269 is a license to pollute without consequences.

Dumb and Dumber

February 16th, 2012
9:32 am

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is a joke. They have been delegated the authority to implement the Clean Water Act by the feds (and also get a grant to pay for that implementation) and what do we get? Nothing but back-room deals that saves the polluters money and leaves the pollution where it is.

Don’t believe me? Spend a little time researching the sweetheart deal GE got when it was discovered they had dumped PCBs into the Coosa River in Rome. Instead of making them clean it up, the “regulators” said they could leave it in place.

Okey-dokey. I don’t drink the water that comes out of that river and the people that do don’t seem to know or care.

So, bottoms-up sheeples!

Common Sense

February 16th, 2012
7:43 am

SAWB,
Read the link to the Ogeechee Riverkeepers. This bill does not require polluters to stop fouling our drinking water, it gives them an unlimited number of 6 month extensions so they can continue to pollute forever. I wish there was a way to let you Smart Ass White Boys drink toxic water without endangering the rest of us. Maybe separate water fountains for SAWB and Humans Beings.

SAWB

February 15th, 2012
8:13 pm

Well, I am opposed to letting anyone off the hook for damage to the environment. However, I see nothing wrong with allowing them to spend an amount of money equivalent to the fine to improve their systems and clean up the damage. I assume currently fines are simply deposited into the general budget it makes more sense to use the money in the area where the damage was done.

Hillbilly D

February 15th, 2012
7:55 pm

Why not make ‘em pay fines and clean up the spills?