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Rid EPD of its economic mission

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POSTED: May 16, 2013 9:00 a.m.

State Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) deserves thanks for taking a stand against the issuance of another wastewater permit to King America Finishing, the Screven County manufacturer believed to be responsible for the largest fish kill in the Ogeechee River in memory.
Carter’s recent column outlines his reasons for opposing the permit, which he expects to be issued despite objections from many.
There’s no doubt many in the public have lost confidence in the state's Environmental Protection Division. But we believe it worth mentioning the EPD's mission is twofold - the agency is tasked not only with protecting the environment, but also protecting economic vitality.
This may sound good in theory, though some believe it’s a case of letting the fox watch the henhouse. Yet it seems in practice the environment is relegated to second fiddle whenever pocketbooks come into play.
How else to describe what has happened and continues to happen with regard to KAF, and how else to understand why it is this state has long seemed to put economic interests ahead of the environment at nearly every turn.  
Certainly, jobs and economic health are important, but there are plenty of state and local agencies charged to carry out that mission. We don't need the EPD for that.
It won't solve everything and it won't bring back the river, but one step in the right direction is to simply relieve the EPD of its economic mission and let it do what it should have been doing all along, which is focus solely on protecting the environment.
That’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but it must happen. Before it's too late.

 

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