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The Session Begins… and Does a Special Session Already Loom?

January 14, 2010

As most readers probably already know, Georgia’s 2010 legislative session began this week. The AJC reports that Gov. Perdue has said he’ll be willing to call a special session of the legislature later this year to ratify a compact between Georgia, Florida and Alabama to resolve the tri-state water war. See the story here.

Meanwhile, a water bill is already in the Senate hopper that would increase water efficiency in the state through repairs to municipalities’ leaky water-delivery systems. Read an AP brief via the Macon Telegraph here, and view the bill itself here.

The leak abatement bill is a good reminder that even water-conserving counties and cities can probably reduce demand even further through efficiency measures in infrastructure and plumbing. Gwinnett County has been in the news this week with the good word that its overall water use, having declined in 2008 as a response to the drought, has not gone back up significantly. That’s a good sign of a “culture of conservation,” but odds are that various efficiency measures could tighten things up even more.

In other news from this week, a Monday AJC op-ed made clear that the attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center take seriously the motion for secrecy in the interstate negotiations of the water war. “The secrecy agreement is much worse than reported by news agencies,” the SELC’s Gil Rogers writes. Secrecy among the states themselves is one thing, he says, but the move also “allows the states to bring into the negotiations only a select group of the powerful and privileged few who have private interests at stake — including utilities, big agri-business, manufacturing and other big money industries — and cloak their involvement in secrecy to the exclusion of public citizens who have a critical stake in the outcome of the negotiations.” Read the column here.

One last note: the LaGrange Daily News reported this week that the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce awarded its highest honor jointly to Dick Timmerberg of the West Point Lake Coalition and Joe Maltese, LaGrange’s point-man for lake affairs. See the story and the smiles here.

-Ben Emanuel

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