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Sustainable Georgia Roundup

Dedicated Conservation Fund: The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act has been signed into law, creating a specific funding source for the protection and conservation of water and land. The act enables Georgians to vote in November on a constitutional amendment that would apply a percentage of the existing sales tax on outdoor recreation equipment to establish and maintain a conservation trust fund.

If approved by voters, an initial 40 percent of the tax revenues would be directed into the fund, generating approximately $20 million per year. That amount could double during the 10-year life of the act, which can be renewed by the legislature.

Having such a fund will put Georgia on par with other Southeastern states that set aside public dollars for conservation. The money will go toward acquiring new public land deemed a priority by the Georgia State Wildlife Action Plan, supporting stewardship efforts on state lands and providing grants to local communities for greenspace acquisition. It will supplement, not replace, other publicly funded conservation programs. An 11-member board will decide how to allocate the funds. Passage of the bill was the result of strong, broad-based support from more than a dozen environmental and business organizations.

Sustainability Leadership: Emory University and Emory Healthcare have received a Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Emory earned the designation for sustainability leadership and innovation in areas such as “Campus as a Living Laboratory,” “Support for Research,” “Sustainable Dining,” “Biodiversity” and “Support for Underrepresented Students,” among other criteria. These efforts have helped the university achieve a top-10 ranking for sustainability among the 62 member institutions in the American Association of Universities.

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