Category: Environment

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

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. http://www.gppf.org/pub/LandUse/Gahousing.pdf… 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

The Foundation raises issues of importance above political rhetoric to a point where politicians focus on them and ultimately make quality decisions.

U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes