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Drought-relief legislation being crafted

POSTED: November 17, 2007 5:01 a.m.
With Georgia experiencing one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) announced details of the new Reservoir Development and Drought Relief Act during a recent press conference.
The legislation, to be introduced in the upcoming 2008 legislative session, focuses on making the state a partner with local governments and water authorities to enhance Georgia’s water storage capacity.
“As we have all witnessed during this drought, it is critically important to increase our water supply in order to avoid crises like the one we are in today,” Cagle said.
 “By partnering with local governments and water authorities and cutting through some of the red tape that comes with reservoir development, we are confident we can capture more rainfall and meet the water needs of our state,” he said.
Under the bill, communities can apply for funding to enlarge existing reservoirs and obtain permits to construct  new ones.
The state will work with these communities to secure the federal permits necessary to build reservoirs by offering a one-stop shop for all of the state components of the federal reservoir application.
Also, the bill will tighten the deadlines for the Georgia Economic Development Program to make a final determination of permit application packages for federal purposes as well as approving state permits.
State Rep. Mike Coan (R-Lawrenceville) will carry the bill in the House, while Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) will sponsor it in the Senate.
“The current drought situation we are in now reinforces our need for enhanced water storage and I look forward to working with members of the legislature to meet Georgia’s future water needs,” the senator said.
 

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