The injection of the sleeping giant, the Savannah Morning News, into an environmental-based fray is a welcome change. I am referring to an article by none other than Tom Barton, editorial editor of that same paper.
His comments addressed the issue of what appears to be immeasurable incompetence on the part of the state’s Environmental Protection Division in the handling of the recent Ogeechee River fish kills.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, Mr. Barton is throwing rocks in the wrong direction. His depiction of “boots on the ground” employees of the EPD as “Barney Fifes” and “Gomer Piles” is reprehensible.
His suggestion that the honorable Gov. Nathan Deal fire all of them is laughable. I’m not sure when the problem started, but I am of the opinion that the former honorable Gov. Sonny Perdue and the current honorable Gov. Nathan Deal are the source of both the problem and the solution. The latter being the one cleaning up the process.
Scientists and engineers who are employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are too frequently politically hog-tied. Money talks and clean water walks – along with clean air, clean marshes, healthy fisheries and quality of life.
Now, I will say I have personally experienced some absolutely unbelievable arrogance and a demonstrated incompetence on the part of at least one EPD employee in particular. She was the project manager for the infamous Liberty County Wastewater Treatment Plant permit application. Those of you who attended public meetings on that subject know exactly who I am talking about.
I have fervently hoped that she has found new stomping grounds other than the state of Georgia. I do mean “stomping” because she stomped on every vestige of scientific evidence and common sense that was offered for her review as an argument against her insane position on that particular problem. Even if you are politically hog-tied you can at least struggle with the knots.
Generally speaking, I have found the hands-on, boots-on-the-ground people of the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources of Georgia to be learned, dedicated, hard-working people. I suspect that their best efforts are too often suppressed by political interests in Atlanta to the detriment of our environment and in favor of political and personal gain.
It didn’t happen yesterday. It has been a work in progress for many years. It needs to end.
The King America Finishing doesn’t even fit the bill for the never-ending battle cry, “jobs, jobs, jobs.” As I understand it, King employs three people?
Follow the money. Who owns the land being leased? Who is making the money to keep King fat, happy and polluting?
Now there is a good job for the Savannah Morning News. Do a little investigative reporting and really get to the bottom of the King thing. That could be the proverbial can of worms. Such an investigation might shed some light on a much bigger problem.
We can’t keep pulling the tops of these weeds. We need to get to the root of the problem. We need an answer to the question, “Why can’t the DNR and its divisions take better care of Georgia’s natural resources?” Is it really incompetence or is it lack of money, manpower and constant political interference?
Hubbard, the self-proclaimed “Wacko Environmentalist,” is a charter boat captain living in Richmond Hill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.