Category: Environment

Wising Up to Georgia’s Water Woes

By Benita M. Dodd and Harold Brown “It is remarkable how many political ‘solutions’ today are dealing with problems created by previous political ‘solutions’,” conservative commentator Thomas Sowell wrote recently on the fires in Southern California. Sowell could have been talking about Anyplace, USA, but his point certainly is especially poignant when it comes to Georgia’s ongoing water challenges. To many observers – including neighboring states – the metro Atlanta region only has itself to blame. Having mismanaged its growth into unbridled sprawl, they argue, metro Atlanta is now expecting “rescue” from everyone else who has water. It’s interesting how providing an adequate water supply is portrayed as in the interests of public safety, until, that is, the “public” is… View Article
By Randal O’Toole California is a garden of Eden, A paradise to live in or see; But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot If you ain’t got the do re mi. – Woody Guthrie California’s scenic beauty, mild climate and economic opportunities have attracted more than 36 million people. But, as suggested by Woody Guthrie’s song, California’s economic opportunities have been restricted by the state’s high cost of living. Most notably, California cities have the least-affordable housing and worst traffic congestion in the country.  The experience of San Jose, the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley, reveals how California achieved these dubious rankings. Amid some of the fastest-growing industries in the world, San Jose should be one… View Article

Water: Balloons, Guns, Slides in Policy

By Benita M. Dodd  Don’t like the drought-related watering restrictions in your community? Outraged enough to rat out neighbors who violate watering rules? The state’s water “wars” could get worse: Watch out for the initial draft of the Statewide Water Management Plan, scheduled to be unveiled June 28.  The plan, required by the 2004 “Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Planning Act,” is the beginning of a new direction for Georgia’s future growth, development and economy. Developed by the state Environmental Protection Division, this policy framework will be presented to the Water Council for consideration through December, after which it goes to the General Assembly in 2008 for approval.   Georgians need to stay involved to ensure the end product promises responsible stewardship… View Article

Facts Not Fear on Air Pollution

By Joel Schwartz Air pollution has been declining for decades across the United States, yet most Americans still believe air pollution is a growing problem and a serious threat to their health. The reason: Most information on air pollution from environmentalists, regulators and journalists – the public’s main sources for information on the environment – is false. Air quality in America’s cities is better than ever. Between 1980 and 2005: ● Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) declined 40 percent. ● Peak 8-hour ozone (O3) levels declined 20 percent, and days per year exceeding the 8-hour ozone standard fell 79 percent. ● Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels decreased 37 percent, sulfur dioxide (SO2) dropped 63 percent and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were reduced… View Article

Clean Water Markets: A Policy Option for Georgia

By Kristin Rowles Given a choice between two equivalent solutions to a problem, the rational choice is to select the least expensive option. Water quality trading, a hot topic around the nation, offers the regulated community this type of choice. Traditional water quality regulations require wastewater dischargers to attain effluent standards on-site, usually by selecting from a narrow range of available technologies. Introducing a market-based water quality trading program expands the options available to the regulated community, including options that can achieve water quality standards – or surpass them – at a lower cost. At a recent workshop in Perry, the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center demonstrated how water quality trading could benefit Georgia . State lawmakers and others… View Article
By Kathleen Calongne Across the nation and in Atlanta, policy-makers are preparing to spend billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money building rail transit. The problem they face now is how to get people onto trains when most people live miles from rail lines. The solution: Jam people into high-density housing around each rail transit station and call it “transit-oriented development,” or TOD. Berkeley, California, TOD proponent Dena Belzer claims rail transit in other cities has spurred billions of dollars worth of developments. She adds that many people are eager to live in high-density, mixed-use developments where they can walk downstairs to a coffee shop or grocery store instead of having to get in a car and drive. First of all,… View Article

Presumptions on Water Quality can Pollute Minds

By Harold Brown Projections of metro Atlanta’s deteriorating water quality are many and presumptive, usually with warnings of looming problems exploited as leverage for some cause or project. According to numerous assessments, urban development is degrading water quality and impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots and roofs are causing pollution of streams. Atlanta’s Water Initiative report of 2000 reinforced this: “As stormwater travels over roads, parking lots, lawns and roofs, it picks up pollutants which are then deposited directly into streams.” Crisis is impending in headlines, too. For the Etowah River, which waters northern Atlanta, it was “A River Under Siege” in 1992; “High pollution levels threaten Lake Allatoona” in 2000 and “Endangered Etowah – Growth troubles its waters”… View Article

Commentary: The Hidden Cost of “Planning”

By Randal O’Toole Planners rarely say, even among themselves, that one goal of growth-management planning is to drive up housing prices in order to discourage people from living on large lots. One rare exception recently took place in Portland, Oregon, when real estate professionals noted that suburban land values had reached a “tipping point” where it was now worthwhile for developers to buy suburban single-family homes and replace them with high-density housing. The 1997 regional plan for Portland had directed that two dozen cities and three counties in the region rezone some neighborhoods to higher densities in anticipation of this point being reached. Yet nothing in the plan itself, or any of the supporters of the plan, ever mentioned that… View Article

Solving the Woes of Water Infrastructure

By Benita M. Dodd One week after more than 600 people from around the nation participated in an Atlanta conference on how to fund sustainable water infrastructure, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced its annual assistance to states and municipalities for water infrastructure topped $5 billion in 2006. That brings to more than $57 billion the total funds distributed and more than 18,000 loans since the Clean Water State Revolving Fund began 20 years ago. The program, the largest federal funding program for wastewater infrastructure projects (such as treatment plants and collection systems), requires a 20 percent state match, and the states make low interest loans to utilities. The problem, however, is that the nation’s water infrastructure is not just… View Article

The Planning Penalty

The Planning Penalty: How Smart Growth Makes Housing Unaffordable by Randal O’Toole American Dream Coalition March 2006 Smart growth and other forms of growth-management planning create artificial housing shortages that impose significant burdens on low-income families and first- time homebuyers. This paper examines several sources of housing data to determine the specific effects of growth- management planning on housing prices. http://www.gppf.org/pub/LandUse/HousingPenalty.pdf… View Article

The most effective and respected organization in Georgia—when they speak, the decision-makers listen.

The late U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell more quotes