Monday, March 22, 2010

74. The next step in Georgia's water policy.

Time to Take the Next Step to Secure Georgia’s Water Future (LaGrange Daily News)

By Sen. Jeff Chapman, (R- Brunswick) and Rep. Dubose Porter, (D-Dublin), candidates for Governor of Georgia.

March 20, 2010

We offer our joint congratulations to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his successfully starting a new Culture of Conservation in Georgia with passage of the Water Stewardship Act.

This bill contains a number of important water conservation ideas that have been proposed by the Georgia Water Coalition since its founding, eight years ago. Despite support from us, and many other legislators, these ideas have been routinely rejected until the recent court decision by federal Judge Paul Magnuson limiting the volume of water that can be taken from Lake Lanier without new federal legislation. That decision forced Georgia to action that should have been state policy for years.

We are proud to thank the Georgia Water Coalition, a broad-based coalition of 175 statewide and local organizations, churches and businesses that has steadily worked for these much-needed measures. As candidates for governor and as working members of the Georgia General Assembly, we are glad to offer our bipartisan support to their important work for our state’s future.

We also have each co-sponsored legislation that is the critical next step in creating the Culture of Conservation, necessary for our future prosperity in Georgia. Following the governor’s excellent example, we have joined many other legislators to introduce identical bills in both the House (HB1301) and Senate (SB462). This legislation, the River Basin Protection Act, establishes a needed and reasonable system to strengthen existing regulations on the transfer of water from one river basin to another. This regulation is vital to the integrity of local and regional water supplies, to serve industry and development all across our great state, and to protect the water quality and the good fishing in our rivers.

We particularly wish to commend Rep. Tom McCall and Sen. Jim Butterworth, both from the Upper Savannah River basin, for their initiative in leading as sponsors of these bills. Each bill now has many additional co-sponsors, and we look forward to seeing the governor put his power behind these bills to get them passed so he can also sign them into law.

The passage of the Water Stewardship Act and the River Basin Protection Act send unmistakable messages to all people who live downstream, in Georgia as well as those in Alabama and Florida, that Georgia is dead serious about protecting and fairly sharing its abundant water resources. When this happens, Georgians will have truly accomplished a solid step forward this year for the conservation and the future of our state water resources.

State Sen. Jeff Chapman, R- Brunswick, and State Rep. Dubose Porter, D-Dublin, are candidates for governor of Georgia.

To read the online story, click here.