February 11, 2016 8:30 AM
Yesterday, Representative Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville) announced his intentions to file a piece of legislation aimed at increasing openness between the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and southeast Georgians.
A private company recently announced intentions to dispose of large amounts of coal ash in the region. While legal, the actions were kept out of public knowledge. According to Rep. Werkheiser, this isn’t the only incident of its type:
Just last week, we learned of a spill of hazardous material that happened nearly five years ago. Again, no laws were broken and no rules were violated, but residents were not made aware of this accident until it was reported by a newspaper that discovered the accident buried in reams of documents.
The reporting of actions including new permit applications, changes in applications, and evidence indicating a violation of a permit would be compulsory under Rep. Werkheiser’s bill. Actions would be reported to official legal organ, the affected local governments, and surrounding landowners.
The process that has taken place in Wayne County has caught everyone off guard and jeopardized the period of time where public comment would have been allowed…We will not get a second chance to get this right, and we need to do what we can to rectify this situation going forward.