Category: Environment

Housing Affordability in Georgia

Homeownership is the American dream and the aspiration of families all over the world. Yet so-called “smart-growth” plans and other restrictive land-use rules have made homeownership affordable only to the very rich in Florida, California, and other states and regions that have adopted such rules.… View Article

Progress of Stormwater Utilities a Watershed Event

By Brant D. Keller, Ph. D. Across the nation and in Georgia, progress in the creation of stormwater utilities has been remarkable and encouraging. It was as recent as 1998 that the city of Griffin became the first government in Georgia to create a stormwater utility, its intent to hold property owners accountable for runoff and provide a stable, equitable funding source dedicated to managing a watershed approach to water quality and quantity challenges.  Curiosity recently sent me back to my 2001 dissertation and research to examine the validity of my projections through 2020 on the increase in stormwater utilities. The nation, according to my 2001 model, was expected to see an increase of 1,500 to 2,000 stormwater utilities through… View Article

TMDLs: Tall Tale of Fishes and Silt

By Harold Brown The king of Clearwater liked to fish, but he was distraught that he could catch only a few, or none, in the streams near the castle and sent his Knights of Fisheries to investigate. The Knights of Fisheries learned that a witch from the neighboring kingdom of Sweetwater had cast a spell to warn all fish away from the streams near the castle. The witch was dead, but apparently her spell lived on. Concerned, the king ordered the fishery knights to draw up an “anti-witchery plan” for the fish-poor streams of his kingdom. It turns out, however, that the fish knew nothing of the witch’s works; in fact, they just didn’t like the streams of Clearwater. When… View Article

Where Has All the Water Gone – Or Has It?

By Harold Brown It is impossible to use up water. When it is used, it doesn’t disappear. There is as much water on this planet today as there was thousands of years ago. When it rains, the water evaporates or it runs to streams or underground reservoirs. It’s hard to make it do anything else, except temporarily. Likewise, when water from a stream is used, it returns to a stream or evaporates. The water from your tap goes back to a stream, even if you drink it. If you water your lawn, wash your car or empty your sink, the water goes back to a stream. Some of the water metro Atlanta uses goes to its sewage treatment plants, where… View Article

From Flexibility Flows Sound Water Policy

By Benita M. Dodd Environmental organizations have great success in rallying support around their causes, and their traditional targets, industry and business leaders, would be first to admit it. It’s an uphill battle to overcome their sound bites and grass-roots fervor. Sometimes, however, even when a legitimate concern is resolved the rallying cry lives on. It’s the environmental equivalent of Craig Shergold, the 9-year-old cancer-stricken boy who wanted enough greeting cards to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. He broke the record with more than 16 million cards. That he broke it in 1991, that he’s now a healthy adult who doesn’t want any more cards, somehow became irrelevant. Hundreds of millions of cards later, his 1989 appeal… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd About every six months, veteran journalist Elliott Brack co-hosts a bus tour of his home of Gwinnett County that highlights the history and changing face of one of the nation’s fastest-growing counties. Gwinnett is frequently attacked by activists as a prime example of the out-of-control growth that they demand be reined in across metro Atlanta, the so-called poster child for sprawl. It was no surprise that when Commission Chairman Wayne Hill lost his seat recently after 12 years, slow-growth advocates hailed it as a victory over the pro-growth policies “destroying” the county. So it was refreshing when, from the environment to transportation to the economy, Brack’s 69th semi-annual tour of Gwinnett this month reflected an honest… View Article

Agenda 2004: A Guide to the Issues

Agenda 2004: A Guide to the Issues Land Use Agenda Utilize zoning that is oriented toward land use rather than classification. Eliminate subsidies that encourage sprawl. Utilize market-oriented user fees to equitably assign the cost of environmental impacts to those causing the greatest harm. Encourage farmland and open space protection through private land trusts and conservation easements. Encourage Congress to eliminate the estate tax. Facts Between 2000 and 2003, Georgia added 498,000 residents, according to the Census Bureau, tying with Texas (6 percent each) for the nation’s highest growth rate during that period. Of that total, 74.5 percent, or 371,000, of the new residents were over age 18.[1] Georgia’s population increased more than 63 percent between 1980 and 2003,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Attend a local planning meeting these days and the discussion inevitably turns to land use and the role it plays in transportation, congestion and density challenges, especially in the metro Atlanta region. It’s no surprise, given the national trend to “smart growth” practices and Atlanta’s reputation as “sprawl capital of the world,” that area forums and studies reveal a strong push in some quarters to link transportation policy and land use practices. At an Atlanta Regional Commission retreat recently in Cobb County, ARC members heard of the successes of the ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative communities. The ARC provides seed money to communities that incorporate the live-work-play concept, are pedestrian-friendly, improve access to transit and other transportation… View Article

Agenda 2005

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues Water Agenda Adopt better pricing of water to encourage conservation. Adopt user fees to pay for source-water protection. Implement cost-based user fees to fund watershed protection. Promote flexibility and compliance assistance in water environmental policy. Encourage municipal stormwater utilities. Establish a statewide Watershed Management Trust Fund. Provide opportunities for industry and farmers to trade for water quality improvements similar to the current air trading program. Educate developers and facilitate adoption of conservation-minded water practices. Eliminate the discriminatory aspect of the insurance premium tax. Consider a market-based trading system for allocating water use  Facts Georgia has more than 70,150 miles of rivers and streams and more than 425,382 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues

Air Quality Agenda Implement an effective emissions trading system similar to the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which implements a regional cap-and-trade strategy to reduce ground-level ozone. Improve prioritization of air pollution risks. Reduce traffic congestion. Use remote sensing technology to target the small number of high-polluting vehicles. Use market incentives to encourage fleet turnover. Implement and encourage more convenient, accessible, cost-effective and economical mass transit options. Lower the fixed costs of owning an automobile. Embrace innovative incentives to encourage use of transportation alternatives. Encourage market-oriented policies to increase urban tree cover and reduce impervious surface and stormwater runoff. Encourage more telecommuting. Facts Research on vehicles in metro Atlanta indicates that 3 percent of the vehicles… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes