By Julia Widmann, Waterkeeper Alliance Organizer, Gulf and South Atlantic Regions
Photos by Joe Cook
Waterkeepers in Georgia are asking Georgia citizens to pay close attention to their ballots, particularly to a statewide ballot measure that could provide cleaner and safer water: Amendment 1. If passed, Amendment 1 will ensure that funds for the cost of cleanups of illegal waste dumps in Georgia will be used for their intended purpose.
Waterkeepers in Georgia—and across the world—see far too many hazardous landfills and illegal trash dumps while patrolling their waterways, and know that these dumps create dirty and unsafe water to paddle and swim in.
Georgia created the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund in the 1990s to clean up hazardous landfills and dumps, but over 40 percent of the funds have been spent elsewhere. Amendment 1 would restrict these funds for the cleanups, which would in turn keep waterways and communities safer. The amendment was passed by the Georgia state Senate and state House back in March. Now, it will go before Georgia voters on November 3 for the final call.
Georgia Waterkeepers are urging voters to “Vote Yes on Amendment 1,” so that the funds set aside for these cleanups will be used for their intended purpose. All of the 11 Waterkeeper groups in Georgia support this measure, along with the Georgia Water Coalition and their hundreds of members.
Upper Coosa Riverkeeper Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman has championed the advocacy efforts on behalf of this ballot measure for years through creative protests and effective communication with legislators about what the amendment means.
“Georgia Water Coalition has worked to dedicate environmental cleanup fees for over a decade. We were thrilled to finally cross the final legislative hurdle this year and are eager for Georgia’s voters to weigh in with their vote. It’s high time we make sure millions of dollars are no longer diverted from hazardous waste, landfill, and tire dump cleanups,” said Jesse.
If you are voting in Georgia this November, remember to “Vote Yes on 1,” and tell your friends! Go to trustfundhonesty.org to learn more.
Thanks to Altamaha Coastkeeper, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Flint Riverkeeper, Lower Savannah River Alliance, a Savannah Riverkeeper Affiliate, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Satilla Riverkeeper, Savannah Riverkeeper, St. Marys Riverkeeper, Suwannee Riverkeeper, and Upper Coosa Riverkeeper for their efforts pushing this forward.
See Waterkeeper Alliance’s previous blog about the importance of voting, including tips to make sure you’re registered, how to vote absentee, and stay up to date on the latest voting information.