The GreenRoom: March 2007

• State environmental departments received a nice chunk of change in the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2008, which still has to pass the legislature. The Georgia Department of National Resources’ (DNR) total budget will increase from $145 million to $164 million, including $50 million for land acquisition and $19 million for Governor Perdue’s “Go Fish Georgia” tourism effort to create a “bass trail” linking Georgia’s streams and reservoirs. State parks would be able to hire workers to fill 33 positions, and the DNR’s Wildlife Resource Division could fill 11 positions, mostly law enforcement and wildlife biologists, says Beth Brown, spokesperson for the DNR.

• Gov. Perdue is also returning $6 million to the state’s solid waste trust fund and $7.6 million for the hazardous waste trust fund in the 2008 budget. The former is collected from recycled tire money and intended for educational campaigns for litter and recycling; the latter, collected from fees and fines from industries, is to be used on cleaning up old landfills.

Georgia environmentalists were incensed when the state used this money to balance the budget; however, Perdue seems to be mending fences, allocating an additional amount of $680,000 to establish pollution limits, or total maximum daily loads (TDMLs), for Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona, which have been long overdue. How much of this budget passes in the legislature will be a good indication of Georgia’s leaders’ commitment to the state’s quality of life.

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