The Georgia Water Coalition released its annual report concerning the state’s waterways. For the Dirty Dozen 2018 list, instead of the usual inventory of specific waterways, the consortium named “dirty politics” as a concern. Joe Cook is the Advocacy and Communications Coordinator with the Catoosa River Basin Initiative.
“Dirty politics leads to dirty water. If our state leadership fails just on environmental protection programs, you see a lessening of water quality,” Cook said.
Cook says the list is a call to action for new leaders in the state to protect our water. The main concern is providing enough funding for Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division—something he says, Georgia residents are already paying for.
“You know, when we purchase tires, we pay a fee; we go and pick up a load of trash at our landfill, we pay a certain fee,” Cook said. “Those fees go to the state, and they’re supposed to be used for clean community programs: cleaning up illegal dumps, cleaning up hazardous waste sites, doing litter education, waste reduction programs at the local level.”
But, Cook says, not all of that money goes where its intended.
“We paid in about $21 million in those fees last year, but our legislators just appropriated only $6.8 million of that $21 million for its intended purposes,” Cooks said.
The coalition consists of 256 partners around the state