Stew, Sam, and Dave from south Florida brought fast kayaks to the most upstream put-in on the Withlacoochee River. It was a tad twistier and deadfalled than they expected, but after making only seven miles the first day, they sped up all the way to the Suwannee River.Continue reading
Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.
There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.
That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.
The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.
Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,
The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.
So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.
A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.
Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.
As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading
The Adel, Georgia, City Council passed the two ordinances for the wood pellet plant with no discussion, yet with some votes against, and protestors outside and inside, on September 21, 2020. There are still things you can do to stop this polluting project that would export our trees from throughout the Suwannee River Basin and beyond, to Europe to burn, producing yet more CO2.
Below are links to each LAKE video of those agenda items, with a few notes.
See also Vicki Weeks, Dogwood Alliance, 16 October 2020, Industrial Logging and the Wood Pellet Industry Hurt Us All.
You can also ask GA-EPD to reject the air permit application. Probably more on that later.
For background, see: Continue reading
Update 2020-10-23: Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22.
Adel, Georgia, spilled 7,500 gallons of raw sewage from its West Ninth Street lift station ten days ago, according to GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report today.
The spill occured on Saturday, October 10, 2020. Apparently there were no detectable effects downstream at Valdosta and below, but we’d still prefer Adel not to spill raw sewage.
It’s about 34 waterway miles downstream to US 41 on the Withlacoochee River, which is the first place for which we have data. On the Monday two days after the spill, Valdosta did see elevated Fecal coliform at that North Valdosta Road location, but E. coli was within limits. Those US 41 readings were actually lower than for the Friday the day before the Adel spill. Same story farther downstream at GA 133 and US 84: lower Valdosta test results Monday than Friday.
Downstream from US 84, all results by Valdosta and Madison Health into Florida were good for Monday and the rest of that week. So apparently the Adel spill had no detectable effect downstream at Valdosta and farther. See the Continue reading
We also talked about how you can vote yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 to fix fee diversions, bottle and can deposits, and how you can help stop Nestle from sucking up more of our aquifer water and making more plastic bottles we have to clean up.
This was in addition to the big cleanup this Saturday, the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back on October 24th, and the Halloween Full Hunter’s Moon paddle on Banks Lake. Here is video of what we said and links to more information.Continue reading
Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.
For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.
There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.
Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.
This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?
( ) YES
( ) NO
Please vote YES.
Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading
Thanks again to the City of Adel for Resolution #18-02 that they passed on January 16, 2018, in support of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
Also in the big image above you see a new sign for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. More on that, later.
For now, note that the sign has the new City of Adel logo on it. That logo and the signed resolution are courtesy of City Clerk Rhonda P. Rowe.
The text of the resolution we published at the time.
Thanks to Adel City Clerk Rhonda Rowe, here are the annexation and rezoning ordinances read on September 8. The second reading is this Monday, September 21, 2020, at 5:30 PM, at Adel City Hall. Presumably the Adel City Council will vote after the Public Hearing.
The ordinances refer to exhibits which are in the application she also sent, from the Adel Adel Industrial Development Authority (AIDA), for this annexation and rezoning. We had actually already seen those in the staff report to the Planning Commission.
Update 2020-09-11: fixed document and map links and added form for comments.
The Adel City Council had no questions after their Public Hearing on annexation and rezoning for a wood pellet plant, Tuesday, September 9, 2020, after thirty minutes of speakers for and against.
That was just the first reading. The second reading will be 5:30 PM, Monday, September 21, 2020, at Adel City Hall.
After the meeting I asked the City Manager, the City Clerk, and a couple of City Council members what maps and plans they had looked at. They all said they hadn’t seen any, and maybe I should talk to Economic Development. So I asked her, and she didn’t seem to indicate she’d seen any.
Yet there are maps and plans in the air permit application to GA-EPD, and others reviewed by the Planning Commission, which, as the City Manager pointed out during the meeting, issued a Public Notice of its public hearing on July 6, 2020. I don’t know why these state and county agencies have not published these documents, nor why the City of Adel has not. But those are public documents, so here they are (see Air Quality Permit maps and Planning Commission maps).
Below are videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) of the pellet plant part of the Adel City Council meeting. See also the agenda and the WWALS letter to the Adel City Council. See also some helpful documents by the Dogwood Alliance
And this handy Dogwood Alliance form to send a comment to the Adel City Counci l.
Update 2020-09-11: Wood pellet plant: speakers and documents @ Adel City Council 2020-09-08.
Here is the agenda for tonight’s Adel City Council meeting:
Since it can’t be any of the other items, apparently the wood pellet plant
5.B. ANNEXATION AND ZONING OF INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY PROPERTY
I don’t see anything about any previous hearings, nor any of the maps, plans, etc. that usually accompany a rezoning.
You can still use the Dogwood Alliance Action Alert to send in a comment before tonight’s meeting.
Meanwhile, I sent Adel this letter, mostly about water trails:
See you in Adel in about an hour and a half.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!