“For five years we’ve chased a dream, maybe a pipe dream, maybe a Clean Water Act dream,” said George Menden, a lawyer. “We should not continue this folly.”
Archive for the ‘Water & Coastal’ Category
After nearly five years and $2 million spent in legal fees, a jury awarded the tiny north Fulton County town only $45,000 in its battle against upstream developers over silt in its lake. Mountain Park had sought upwards of $3.8 million in damages, but the jury heard evidence that silt had long been a decades-long problem complained about by the City. The jury refused to award one cent towards attorney’s fees.
Mayor Jim Still had this to say on the city’s website:
The jury in the Lakes litigation trial found two out of four defendants guilty of Clean Water Act violations but did not determine to award the amount the City of Mountain Park was requesting. $45,000.00 was the amount of damages awarded the city. The Judge will, in the coming weeks, also be considering what additional remedies and penalties to award against the Defendants found to have violated the Clean Water Act. The City Council will be considering this outcome and a town hall meeting will be held to review the verdict.
Mayor Kasim Reed unveiled his ambitious plan for Atlanta to become one of the top 10 green cities in the nation. Currently, Atlanta ranks 19th on SustainLane U.S. City Rankings. Mayor Reed’s plan seeks to:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the City 25% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050
Reduce energy use for existing municipal operations 15% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050
Make renewable energy 5% of total municipal use by 2015
Bring local food within 10 minutes of 75% percent of all residents by 2020
You can review the City’s complete Sustainability Plan Executive Summary here.
The Sandy Springs City Council unanimously approved filing a lawsuit against Fulton County for its alleged failure to maintain two detention ponds at Arlington Memorial Park on Mount Vernon Highway. The City blames the detention ponds for problems with Colewood Creek and flooding of residential properties in Colewood Court.
The City of Mountain Park has spent $2 million – more than four times its annual budget – in legal fees fighting upstream developers over silt and sediment in the city’s lakes and wetlands due to development in Roswell. The north Fulton County city of just over 500 people has waged a federal lawsuit war against the developers since 2005.
The fight headed to trial last and is expected to last two weeks and undoubtedly cost the little city more money in legal fees. The City has up on its website a summary of the first day of trial and directions to the courthouse.
Yesterday, Jekyll Island Authority awarded Kennesaw-based Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC the contract to build the 129,000-square-feet convention center along with the adjacent beach village’s public plaza, village green, parks and roads.
Brasfield & Gorrie secured the contract with a bid of $30.6 million, which was 16% less than the island’s governing authority budgeted for project completion. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and wrap up by early 2012.
At the request of Georgia, Florida and Alabama, Federal District Court Judge Paul Magnuson entered an order to keep the tri-state water negotiations secret saying that “a settlement of such a complicated and inflammatory case such as this can occur only if some negotiations, whether among all parties or among only some of the parties, are conducted privately.”
Critics object to the secrecy.
“We actually keep asking ourselves ‘What is it that has got to be concealed here?’” said Sally Bethea, executive director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a Georgia water protection group.
“After 20 years, don’t we all basically know the facts? Is this confidentiality arrangement really something just to serve as cover for political leaders — the governors? Bottom line, we think secrecy is not in the best interest of all the people in the three states who rely on these river systems.”
In a recent speech to Augusta community leaders, Governor Sonny Perdue suggested interbasin transfers should be an option to meet water demands. Interbasin transfers - millions of gallons of water drawn from one river basin and transported to another – are prohibited by state law and were ruled out by the Governor’s own Water Contingency Task Force as expensive and impractical.
“Obviously I make people nervous there because we’ve got this culture of this inviolate theory of no interbasin transfers,” [Gov. Perdue] said. “I just want us to look at it from a Georgia perspective — all Georgians. Some out there want to talk about Atlanta’s problems. As I said, do they affect us all over Georgia? Absolutely they do.”
“We can’t look at them (natural resources) in a selfish possessive way just like we don’t try to make one area sacrifice at the expense of others” when it comes to government agencies and operations like social services, said Perdue. “Some have more than they need and others have less than they need. If we have more than we need somewhere, we may have to look at doing (the transfers). I don’t think any of us — no Georgian — can sit back and think of an issue as fundamental as drinking water for Georgia families as someone else’s problem.”
Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minnesota) shelved for 2009 legislation expanding the Clean Water Act to allow the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to protect all of the nation’s waterways. The expansion would allow government regulation of 20 million acres of the nation’s so-called isolated wetlands and the 59 percent of the nation’s streams that do not flow year-round. Currently, these two types of water are largely exempt from federal oversight.
Rep. Oberstar intends to introduce the legislation again in January, 2010.
This proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act would substantially alter use, development and occupancy of property throughout Georgia.
h/t Laurel David.
Linger Longer owns Reynolds Plantation and first proposed a $352 million redevelopment of Jekyll Island in 2007. A year later, the developer scaled back its plans to only two hotels, a time-share condo complex, lofts and a small shopping center along the beachfront.
By law, 65% of Jekyll Island must remain undeveloped. Linger Longer possesses a 25-year first right of refusal for all development and management for all development on Jekyll Island.
In a statement, Reynolds chairman Mercer Reynolds, whose company has given thousands of dollars to Perdue’s campaigns and the state Republican party, said the developer decided to pull the plug “due to the uncertainty of the economic environment and the difficulty that this uncertainty imposes on a workable development schedule.”
David Egan, a Jekyll resident who has fought the island’s upscale revitalization, said Georgians should be pleased that Linger Longer is out of the picture.
“It’s a victory in the sense that we hope the (Jekyll Island) Authority will step back and try to take into account what the people want for the state park, not what the developers want,” he said. “It’s a victory for a public vision for the state park.”