ATLANTA — Georgia Senate Bill 213 has been defeated in the House after modification from the Senate version, according to Gordon Rogers, executive director of Flint Riverkeeper.
Officials with the Georgia Water Coalition, an alliance of environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses and faith-based organizations, had contended the bill contained a “poison pill” that threatened property rights and underground water sources.
“SB 213 died on the House floor (Thursday) night,” Rogers said in a written release Friday. “It will go back to the Committee it was assigned to and no doubt we’ll see it back in the 2014 legislative session.”
Rogers called the situation “shameful.” The bill, he said, was not designed to “heal” the Flint River and the GWC and other river advocacy groups were forced to play a “defensive game” in order to prevent more damage.
“We don’t always get to pick our fights,” Rogers said. “The bill was a direct attack on property rights, creating an opportunity for funding projects in SOWEGA to take pressure off Metro Atlanta uses, and providing no help for local farmers, fisherfolk, river and creekfront property owners.”
One aspect of the bill river advocates found objectionable was the concept of “stream flow augmentation,” including aquifer storage and recovery, or ASR, which Coalition officials define as “the injection of ground water into the aquifer, which would be extracted later and sent downstream.” According to the Coalition, the process could cause irreversible contamination of the aquifer.