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Voters beware the politics of stealth
David Kyler
David Kyler is executive director of the St. Simon’s Island-based Center for a Sustainable Coast.

Dear editor: 

If a contest was held for the most brazen legislative chicanery ever foisted on the Georgia public, surely a bill now in the General Assembly would be a finalist, if not winning grand prize.

On February 28 a bit of trickery known as House Bill 445 was quickly adopted by the House Natural Resources Committee with nary a glimpse of the proposal offered to the public, nor any chance for taxpayers to voice opinions. 

Considering the careless public hazards and devious special favors created by HB445, no wonder there’s such secrecy. 

Ponder these highlights:

• Georgia’s coast suffered horrendous damage from hurricanes in 2017, and DNR staff frequently talks about the growing risks of rising sea-level, yet they now propose requiring a mere 25 feet between high-tide and oceanfront development. 

• Instead of using shore-erosion data, based on research funded in part by DNR, HB445 ghostwriters say absolutely nothing about dangerous erosion occurring along our coast – applying only the 25-foot measurement from various landmarks, despite mounting oceanfront hazards.

• Most audacious are the law’s provisions that implicitly serve the special, profitable advantage of one powerful constituent - the Sea Island Company. HB445 would essentially exempt from regulation all eight highly vulnerable lots that the company is marketing for development on the Sea Island Spit.

The fragile strand known as the Spit was nearly wiped off the map by hurricanes Irma and Matthew. Moreover, Federal law prohibits FEMA-subsidized flood insurance on the Spit because it’s so hazardous

Please urge your state senator to oppose HB445.

David Kyler

Center for a Sustainable Coast

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