ATLANTA -- A line slicing through the midstate separating one set of air pollution rules from another is a good example of how federal environmental law frustrates business owners, the states top environmental overseer told a blue-ribbon legislative panel this week.
People in Jones County look at gas in Bibb (County) thats cheaper ... and it really frustrates them, said state Environmental Protection Division Director Jud Turner in front of the House Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation. Known better as the Red Tape Committee, it was formed in 2012 to propose ways to cut down business regulations.
Turner was explaining that many of the environmental regulations that drive complaints to the committee are federal law.
Jones County falls into the 45-county north Georgia zone that failed the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone pollution. To help get the area into compliance, the state mandated that during the summer the region use a low-sulfur gasoline thats cleaner but pricier.
That federal-state division of labor is common. The federal government writes laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and states write laws to comply.
Its the spirit of keeping Georgia clean enough to ward off Washington that drives some thinking on state environmental law.
We need to keep this at home, said state Rep. Buddy Harden, R-Cordele, of air and water rules. If we keep it at home, weve got a whole lot better chance to manage it the way we think it should be managed.
Other committee members echoed the idea. But state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, a member of the committee, demurs.
The better approach, he said, would be cooperation between the EPD and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Youre always going to have the federal government. Youre always going to have the state government, Beverly said. Its time to get them together in a big way.