ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Legislature is seeking to soften mandatory buffers aimed at protecting Georgia's waterways from pollution and development.
The House voted 106-58 Thursday to remove the buffers around unnamed tributaries — or ephemeral streams — that crisscross the state. House and Senate lawmakers must now hash out differences before sending it to Gov. Sonny Perdue.
State law provides for a 25 foot buffer along all streams and as much as 150 feet for watersheds providing drinking water. The proposal would exempt an untold number of minor tributaries from the restrictions.
Supporters say many of the streams are little more than ditches and that the buffers restrict growth and hamper property rights.
Critics say loosening rules could threaten the state's clean water.
On the Net:
Senate Bill 155: www.legis.ga.gov
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.