The state Environmental Protection Division, according to the law, is required to hold public meetings in certain circumstances. The severe pollution of the Ogeechee was one of those circumstances.
They conveniently forgot to hold such a meeting until their feet were held to the legal fire. What a sad state of affairs when they did hold the meeting Tuesday night in Springfield. I am convinced from previous experience that meetings required by law to hear the public viewpoint are held simply because they are required. What the public has to say is, for the most part, irrelevant to the EPD.
As I knew the case would be, the residents of the area and the friends of the Ogeechee River stood and voiced their opinion about the absolutely ridiculous actions of the Department of Natural Resources and the EPD regarding the severe pollution of the Ogeechee River. I think the comment of EPD Watershed Protection Branch assistant chief Jeff Larson, who shows up any time there is a growing conflict over the shenanigans of the EPD concerning the Ogeechee River Basin, sums up the usefulness of public meetings.
When questioned about the EPD’s intended action after the meeting he responded, “We will continue to try and educate the public.” I interpret that to be the same as, “You bunch of dummies with all your facts and figures and passion for preserving the natural wonder of the Ogeechee River, get along now, and if all-knowing Mr. Larson or his boss Elizabeth Booth needs you, they will call you.”
During the meeting there were impassioned pleas to do the right thing. There were informed presentations on the obvious inept handling of the issue. Regardless of the repeated revelations at the meeting, the EPD continues doing exactly what they intended to do all along. They went back to Atlanta, where they will stay on the same path they have been on for many years. Nothing excepting an informed Judge will cause them to change direction.
I have witnessed the pomposity of certain managers within the EPD before. However, I still firmly believe that the rank and file of the DNR and the EPD are, for the most part, dedicated, hard-working people who are trying to make the best of something that they know could be a lot better.
You can go to the website and mull thru the layers and layers of organizational charts and objectives. Somebody spent a lot of time putting it all together. It’s just creating a lot of paperwork to qualify your existence when the directives and goals are not being actively pursued.
There has, in my opinion, been a lack of concern demonstrated by the past and current administration for the environmental concerns of Coastal Georgia. I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but I can guess. The poor attitude toward the concerns of coastal residents by the group in Atlanta is promoted by the absence of any public address of the situation by our local representation. We, the uneducated public, are to be still, be quiet. It has to be a real burden to have to drive all the way down here to listen to a bunch of uneducated ragtags run their collective mouths.
We need to hear, publically, from our representatives on this subject. It’s not about the ability of our DNR and our EPD to get the job done. It’s about politics, money and job security.
There two paths to resolution of the problem. Unfortunately, neither is reason. There is a legal path and a political one. We deserve the support of our representation — which we do not appear to be getting. Where is their public outcry against this travesty?
Hubbard lives in Richmond Hill.