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Force EPD to broaden river study
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Editor, To emphasize the urgency of this message to the degree that it needs to be emphasized, I would have to set the paper on fire while you were reading it.
The recent meeting held by EPD regarding the proposed plan to dump treated wastewater into the Laurel View River was a re-cap of the original meeting held last January.
It was disappointing to realize that the EPD appears to have not moved an inch from their position in that length of time. It’s kind of like the dark side of the Energizer Bunny.
We viewed the very same, slightly altered, problematic document in PowerPoint form, which has been roundly criticized by people well qualified to do so. It was again, very diplomatically, punched full of holes by a scientist in the audience.
The proposal to do a marsh study that incorporates four or five days of actual physical presence on the water over a six month period of time is absurd. We are dealing with a very valuable, very complex and dynamic ecosystem that scientists are just beginning to understand.
EPD’s only public position has been the announcement by Mr. Jeff Larson, EPD public relations, that the EPD intends to prove that their already disproven program will support an environmental impact study.
After agreeing to a meeting with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO), and after being apprised of the many faults of their program in that meeting, EPD agreed to pursue a new course that included SkIO.
If the EPD is placing the same level of importance on this issue as the residents of this coast are then why was a principle player allowed to take a conference call to participate in that very critical meeting with SkIO while in a swimming pool in Florida? By her own admission she had no idea who attended the meeting, was vague on what the content of the meeting was and seemed to be openly contemptuous of the concept of working towards a solution with the scientists at SkIO.  
I suspect that the EPD is less than sincere in their agreement to seek qualified assistance in developing the programs needed to assess the potential effect of the unprecedented permitting of the direct discharge of more than a billion gallons of treated wastewater into a salt marsh basin. I am convinced the political pressure generated from special interests is carrying the day behind the scenes in political circles at state level.
I suspect the EPD is going through the motions, checking off blocks, and chatting up the opposition with the intention of emerging on the other side in January to announce that all is well and the permit will be issued. If that is not the case then we need the EPD to publicly say so. Coastal residents have no faith in the ability of the EPD to conduct the very complicated scientific studies. We don’t need any more public meetings with revised editions of a faulted study plan. Coastal residents will accept nothing less than a program designed and implemented by a qualified third party, which is logically the Skidaway group.
There appears to be but one solution to this problem. EPD gets their marching orders from the body politic in Atlanta. There has been a marked absence of any public involvement by our political representatives at either local or state level. That needs to change. The only way that is going to change is for everyone to contact their local and state representation by phone, by mail and e-mail and preferably all three. Our request is simple. We want to see a public statement that EPD is going to honor their commitment to enjoin the scientists at SkIO to do the design and implementation of a study plan.
The potential for catastrophic and irreversible damage to the salt marsh ecosystem is riding on the special interests of a few. Make the call, write the letter, and send the e-mail. The content of this plea gives you the message to send. In November 2010 we can vote our conscience accordingly at both state and local level.
Please help.

Roy Hubbard
Richmond Hill
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