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Georgia’s Dirty Dozen

November 15, 2012

The Georgia Water Coalition released the second annual Dirty Dozen yesterday (November 14).   Georgia River Network is one of the Georgia Water Coalition’s 175 partners, which represent a total of 300,000 Georgians.  The Governor’s office offered an ill-conceived response.

The Dirty Dozen exposes the links between agency underfunding, legislative accounting tricks, and political cronyism to offenses against Georgia’s waterways.  You can read the press release here.  You can find the full report (and the individual issues) on the Georgia Water Coalition’s website.

The Dirty Dozen range from unnecessary reservoirs (Richland Creek, Glades, and Tired Creek), an aquifer storage and recovery project (Flint River), and a water-well for a water park (Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority).  The list also includes pollution issues from last year that have not been resolved, including the Ogeechee River (King America Finishing’s illegal pollution discharge) and the Altamaha River (Rayonier’s pollution discharge permit renewal).  Other items include the misappropriation of fees collected to clean up hazardous waste (South River) and illegal tire dumps (Pachitla Creek).

In less than 24 hours, the Dirty Dozen generated at least seventeen stories in media markets all around the state.

GPB Broadcast on Dirty Dozen GWC story at 1:58 mark

List Of “Dirty Dozen” Rivers Released GPB

Coastal rivers among state’s dirtiest waterways Brunswick News

Ogeechee River tops ‘Dirty Dozen” list again Savannah Morning News

Camden County canal makes Georgia Water Coalition’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ Florida Times-Union

Georgia ‘Dirty Dozen’ water list released The Albany Herald

Dirty Dozen List: Fouling Georgia’s water WALB-TV (with video)

OPINION: Ogeechee Riverkeeper on target with lawsuit Savannah Morning News

Group cites fish kill and Vogtle as threats to Georgia’s water The Augusta Chronicle

Coalition names ‘dirty dozen’ water offenses Macon Telegraph

Environmental group lists Flat, Allen creeks on list of state’s … Gainesville Times

Two Hall Co. offenders on “Dirty Dozen” list Access North Georgia

Ogeechee River Tops “Dirty Dozen List” WSAV-TV (with video)

Paulding County s proposed Richland Creek reservoir upstream Rome News Tribune

Water Conservation Group Names Dirty Dozen Fox 24/ABC16

Dirty Dozen List: Fouling Georgia’s water WTOC

Water Coalition Releases Dirty Dozen List WABE

This last WABE story included the Governor’s Response.   If Governor Nathan Deal’s office continues to think that every Georgian who cares about clean water, fishing, property values, political favoritism and fiscal conservatism is a part of a “liberal interest group,” than the Governor might want to check-back in with the real Georgia I live in.

In reality, there are plenty of conservatives who’d like to see Georgia’s EPD and King America Finishing do a whole lot more for the Ogeechee River.  Ogeechee River lovers birddogged Sen. Johnny Isakson at a fish fry far-away in Perry to spark his interest in their fight.  And, there have always been fiscal conservatives who “vehemently oppose” wasting public dollars on ill-conceived projects like Grady County’s Tired Creek reservoir and Newton County’s Bear Creek reservoir.  Or transportation, in case we’ve forgotten about July’s T-SPLOST.

Georgia’s demographics are shifting in many different ways.  And there’s a good chance clean water will always be on Georgian’s minds, wherever they live.

-Chris Manganiello

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