A bill that updates the Flint River Drought Protection Act requires certain farmers who draw water from the river by permit to reach 80 percent efficiency by 2020.
The mandate varies by the type of irrigation system and when the permit was issued. Certain systems, like those that cover irregularly shaped fields, tend to be less efficient and would only be held to a 60 percent efficiency standard.
The bill also creates rules for state investment in so-called augmented flows. Thats the practice of pumping water up from an aquifer into a stream or river.
Senate Bill 213, by state Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, has yet to be scheduled for a committee hearing.
Garbage bill approved
The 75-cents-per-ton tipping fee that landfill-using Georgians pay to clean up hazardous waste sites will disappear if the Legislature makes a grab for the cash, under a bill just approved in a House subcommittee.
The fees raise about $13 million annually for the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund, which counties and cities are supposed to be able to tap to help clean up old, leaky landfills or other abandoned, polluted sites. The Legislature regularly spends much of that money elsewhere.
House Bill 276 by state Rep. Chad Nimmer, R-Blackshear, would cut that 75 cents by the same percentage the Legislature decides to spend elsewhere.
The Resource Management Subcommittee unanimously passed the bill which now moves to the full House Natural Resources Committee.
Fee diversion is common at the Capitol. For example, rural trauma care and youth drivers education programs are supposed to get money from super speeder fines and a DUI levy, respectively, but they do not get all they were promised when the fees were created.
-- Maggie Lee