Georgia’s Water in the State Legislature
Defend Georgia's Groundwater.
Educate Your Lawmakers.
Underground Water Supply Protection Act (SB 36)
Unlike other states across the country, many Georgians are fortunate to have access to and reasonable use of water on or under their property. But our precious groundwater is compromised in many areas because current laws and regulations do not provide enough protection. SB 36 will require the Department of Natural Resources to write rules protecting our groundwater.
Status of SB 36: To date, SB 36 has been halted in the House Natural Resources Committee. Rep. David Stover (R-Newnan) is gathering Representatives' signatures for a discharge petition (House Rule 59) in order to advance the bill past the House Natural Resources Committee.
It should be noted that Senator William Ligon introduced SB 36 during last year’s session; and it successfully passed the Senate by a majority vote.
Act Today! Use Your Voice to Push SB 36 through the House!
Action One! Please call your Representative today and ask them to protect our groundwater by signing Rep. Stover's discharge petition today. Almost immediately after Rep. Stover began collecting signatures for his discharge petition, House leadership called a meeting urging Representatives not to sign the petition. You can find your district at GA Sec of State's My Voter Page and your Representative at http://openstates.org/ga. Click here to sign and send a pre-composed email to your Representative.
Action Two! Call through the members of the Georgia House Natural Resources Committee and ask each of them to support SB 36! The committee leaders have been reluctant to go the distance to protect our well water from pollution. You may experience some push back from your Representative. That's ok. Keep pushing and calling and encouraging others to do the same. Your phone calls and emails have convinced a number of Representatives to sign on to the discharge petition to move SB 36 - let's keep it up! Click here for a list of Representatives on the Georgia House Natural Resources Committee and here to sign and send a pre-composed email to members of the Georgia House Natural Resources Committee.
Here are some talking points (an updated fact sheet is available here):
Thanks for all you do for our waters and communities!!
Other Key Clean Water Bills:
Stream Buffer Re-Establishment, HB 966
Many Representatives have expressed their support for HB 966, which re-establishes consistent stream buffer laws. Keep up the phone calls and emails. For the bill to be considered this session, Rep. Lynn Smith must call the bill up in House Natural Resources Committee before crossover day, Feb 29.
Keep those phone calls up - Call your Representative and urge them to PASS HB 966 - protect streams from pollution and ensure consistent property rights.
Update 2/26/2016: Bill Died in Committee (YAY)
Roll-back for preventing dirt in streams, SB 326
Senate Bill 326 would create an unworkable environment by handcuffing land disturbance permit reviews, and in effect cause greater downstream property damage by allowing more mud in our rivers, lakes and streams.
SB 326 would make two harmful changes to the E&S Act. First, the bill will require all plan reviewers to be state licensed professionals. Local governments and the Soil and Water Conservation District offices cannot afford to staff these positions with professional engineers.
Second, the bill will reduce the time for application and plan review from 45 to 14 days. A 14-day window is not enough time to conduct a thorough plan review, including site visits and necessary due diligence to ensure that plans will sufficiently detain sediment from washing off the construction site and polluting our rivers, lakes, and creeks downstream.
The GWC opposes this roll-back.
Status: SB 326 was introduced by Sen. Rick Jaffares (R-McDonough). It was scheduled to be heard in committee yesterday, but was tabled by the bill's sponsor.
What You Can Do: Keep those phone calls up!! Contact your Senator and tell them to vote NO on SB 326.
Update 2/26/2016: Bill Died in Committee (YAY)
SB 321: Utility Bill Secrecy Passes Senate Committee
Please Call Your Senator TODAY!
Senator Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) sponsored Senate Bill 321. This bill will undo a water and energy conservation ordinance adopted by the City of Atlanta in 2015. SB 321 will make water and energy consumption data from public utilities a “trade secret.” In other words, this information will not be available to building owners and will not provide any incentive to improve building operations. The well-known way to influence behavior is education and awareness. If we cannot access reliable information about water and energy use, we cannot implement effective campaigns to promote conservation and efficiency. Additionally, SB 321 violates Home Rule principles where local governments are free to pass laws and ordinances as they see fit.
Status: SB 321 has been assigned to the Senate Economic and Tourism committee. The bill passed the committee with two NO votes (Sen Donzella James and Sen Michael 'Doc' Rhett) - please tell them thanks.
What You Can Do: Contact your Senator and ask them to vote NO on SB 321. SB 321 is bad for consumers and businesses.