Changing the rules...

Anthony Shoals Preservation Group will weigh in on GDOA's proposal

The Anthony Shoals Preservation Group, shown here at a meeting at the Elbert County Library Thursday, will comment on rule changes proposed by Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Gary Black. (Photo by Jones)

The Anthony Shoals Preservation Group plans to take advantage of an opportunity to voice its opinion to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Acting on House Bill 512, which local Georgia House Rep. Tom McCall attached to a propane bill late in the most recent legislative session, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDOA) will be making changes to state rules that regulate soil amendments.

GDOA has requested written responses to rule changes that could have an effect on “fertilizer” or “soil amendments” being applied to land on River Road at Broad River Valley Farms.

According to Dr. Frank Carl,  the GDOA rule changes proposed are heavily weighted to providing more structured rules and regulations on soil amendments.

“These are good rules for soil amendments, but the state should have more stringent rules on fertilizers too,” said Carl. “I think what (Broad River Valley Farms is) doing is dumping industrial waste and calling it fertilizer.”

The state is allowing written comments on the rule changes through July 5.

The comments must be submitted to Jennifer Wren, who is the Agriculture Inputs Program Director at the Plant Industry Division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Comments can be sent to Wren at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA 30635 or emailed to Wren at Jennifer.Wren@agr.georgia.gov.

Comments that are received will be reviewed by GDOA on July 8, according to a press release by GDOA officials.

Carl, who serves as Chairman of Savannah Riverkeepers, also told the Anthony Shoals Preservation Group that House Bill 545, sponsored by McCall, was a “bad bill” and that the Georgia Water Coalition was going to “try to kill it” in the upcoming legislative session.

“That was a bad bill that would have helped large farm operations,” said Carl. “The bill would have helped (Broad River Valley Farms) and it would have allowed these huge pig operations to come into a community and leave local citizens without a way to fight them.”

McCall, when House Bill 545 faltered in the Georgia Senate, attached the GDOA proposed rules changes to House Bill 512 to allow the changes.

House Bill 545 was passed through the Georgia House of Representatives but when it “crossed over” to the Senate the bill delayed in the Senate’s rules committee.

The bill can be considered for passage during the next legislative session.

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