Thursday, October 13, 2011

Every taxpayer in Georgia should be furious with the DNR's latest stunt

Yesterday the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) used $35K of taxpayer dollars to restock the Ogeechee River after a massive 38K+ fish kill late in May. They have identified King Finishing, a private company, as the source for the pollution.

Dead fish in the Ogeechee, May 2011
But it gets even worse-the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) inspected King Finishing and never discovered that they were dumping fire retardant chemicals into the river without a permit, for 5 years! EPD leaders, once they realized they were clearly caught with their pants down, set up a consent agreement (which isn't a fine or penalty, but rather money for a supplemental environmental project) for King Finishing to spend $1M on some unidentified project, which may in fact not even be connected to the damage done at the river.

To add to the insult to all Georgians, but particularly people fishing and swimming in the river, selling supplies to boaters and outdoors sportsmen, and wildlife supporters, King Finishing could have been fined $91M! But if the EPD inspected and failed to find the unpermitted dumping, how can it then turn around and punish the polluter to the full extent possible?

To further indicate just how bad oversight is across state departments, a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on factory farms revealed that the Agriculture Department isn't inspecting factory farms in the state and the EPD isn't finding the resulting pollution in rivers, streams, and lakes. Bert Langley with the EPD was quoted in the AJC, "We get very few complaints, which is typically our window into whether there are gross problems occurring,” 

The AJC quoted Justine Thompson, Executive Director of GreenLaw, about the method, or lack thereof, of oversight: “If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a farm is not inspected or looked at, does it have a violation?” Thompson said. “They are not inspecting these places. To unequivocally make a proclamation that places they’ve never seen are in compliance is inconceivable.”

Clearly the Emperor has no clothes, and doesn't have the sense to figure out where or how to get some.


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