A bill that would halt permits for new or expanded landfills in most of Middle Georgia until 2016 got little traction in its first, and perhaps only, state Senate committee hearing.
Senate Bill 253, sponsored by Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, admittedly appeared too late in the session for much chance at passage this year. However, the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee nonetheless had a short hearing for the bill Tuesday.
There is room for expansion, but we dont think thats a good idea, Brown said of Bibb and Twiggs county landfills such as Wolf Creek, which may this year get new permission to take more trash.
He explained that in recent public hearings, hes heard that residents are concerned about one-time small landfills accepting trash from anywhere in the U.S.
Brown added that hes not convinced that landfill liners, even the best ones available, can last more than 30 years. That probably means eventual seepage into aquifers.
There was no vote on the bill, though the committee chairman, Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, acknowledged the question of landfills and aquifers needs to be studied. He said he wants to hold some public hearings this summer.
Browns moratorium would cover both horizontal and vertical landfill expansions, in areas within two miles of sensitive water recharge areas above aquifers. That includes much of all the counties that stretch across Middle Georgia from Columbus to Augusta.
Sen. Steve Henson, D-Tucker, attempted to attach Browns language to a separate, successful bill relating to landfills. His move failed in committee, but its possible that Henson or another senator could try again on the Senate floor.
-- Maggie Lee
Senate eyes Tennessee River basin for potential water supply
ATLANTA -- The Senate has unanimously approved a study looking into whether Georgia can use parts of the Tennessee River basin as a potential water supply.
Lawmakers have been weighing alternate water sources in the wake of a federal court decision ordering Georgia, Alabama and Florida to work out an agreement to share water by 2012.
According to the resolution passed Tuesday, four north Georgia creeks have an estimated combined flow of at least 130 million gallons per day for eight months of the year. The resolution suggests that water from these creeks could be stored in nearby abandoned rock quarries that could hold billions of gallons, and could be distributed via a pipeline that could be built along a railroad line owned by the state.
-- Associated Press
House tightens reservoir revolving door
ATLANTA -- Lawmakers considering a bill that would allow reservoirs to be built with a combination of public and private funds moved to tighten revolving door restrictions on state and local government officials.
At a meeting of the House Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, lawmakers adopted two amendments that would lengthen the cooling off period. The changes would require government officials to wait three years instead of one before they could work for companies with state water project contracts.
Sponsored by Tolleson, the bill would allow local or state government agencies to partner with private developers to build reservoirs or water treatment plants as the state looks to boost its water supply.
The committee is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.
-- Associated Press
Ga. legislative session set to end April 14
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Legislature will wrap up the 2011 legislative session on April 14.
The House and Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution setting the calendar for the remainder of the 40-day session.
Lawmakers are set to meet all five days next week. They will take off April 4-8, which coincides with many school district spring breaks as well as the Masters Tournament in Augusta.
They will hold the final two days April 12 and 14.
The General Assembly must still approve a budget for the 2012 fiscal year and could complete action on immigration measures and a bill permitting Sunday alcohol sales.
Last years session was one of the longest on record, stretching more than three months and ending April 30.
-- Associated Press