In response to another round of corporate power-grabbing at the General Assembly, Georgians must use their collective electorate leverage to curb further abuses.
During the 2021 session, two proposals deserve exposure: HB150 and HB647. The first bill seeks to prohibit local and state authorities from curtailing the use of fossil fuels, and the second allows irresponsible disposal of toxic coal-ash, requiring only a feeble and unreliable pollution-monitoring process.
Each of these bills, aided by misleading, lobbyist-influenced pretexts, advance the interests of Georgia Power and other corporate titans at the public’s expense.
Several forward-thinking Georgia communities [including Savannah, Athens, and Atlanta] have adopted well-founded commitments to prioritize transitioning to clean energy. Their actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions would be severely hampered by proposed HB150 prohibitions, pending approval.
At a time when Virginia and other states are taking decisive steps supporting actions that confront urgent climate-change threats, Georgia legislators are, instead, serving fossil-fuel and energy-generating profiteers by overriding local clean-energy priorities.
As for the coal-ash predicament, legislators are cavalierly disregarding both extensive evidence of lethal health problems already being caused by coal-ash toxins contaminating water supplies, as well as the appalling record of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division in failing to properly monitor and safeguard water resources.
Georgians must hold our legislators accountable, insisting that they serve the public instead of corporate manipulators, or else risk being replaced in the next election.
Human health and essential environmental quality will only be protected if voters vigilantly require elected officials to honor their sworn duty.
Center for a Sustainable Coast
Saint Simons Island, Georgia