Those Darned Environmentalists

The Senate does not like them.

The Georgia Senate on Thursday booted the lone environmentalist from the state board charged with protecting natural resources.

“It’s one heck of an Earth Day present,” said Sally Bethea, the executive director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper who — until now — was the strongest pro-environment voice on the state’s 18-member Board of Natural Resources.

Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams said it was because Ms. Bethea is a registered lobbyist for Riverkeepers, which presents a conflict of interest. Ms. Bethea says she’s been one the whole time she’s been on the board. Nonetheless, I think it was a good call because she is a lobbyist for an organization with interests before the board.

However, I’d also note that now there are zero people on the board who are strong environmentalists. And while I’m not one, I think the Board really ought to have one to make sure the business guys aren’t missing something important.

17 comments

  1. SpaceyG says:

    I know Sally, and have volunteered with the crucial non-profit, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, before. There is NOTHING untransparent about what she does for UCR, or for the Board of Natural Resources, nor has there EVER been.

    Call it what you may, a “conflict of interest,” but when assorted businesses are allowed to cavalierly dump their toxic crap into our sole drinking water supply for the City, then that represents an extreme conflict of my City of Atlanta interests too.

    And call me naive, although I’m not, I thought protecting our state’s rivers was the job of the Dept. of Natural Resources in the first place. Why do you think they call ’em “natural?” So how could someone committed to lobbying for a clean rivers and a viable, clean water supply, possibly be in conflict with “natural” resources? That just doesn’t make sense.

    The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper dot org was founded by Laura Turner-Seydel to assist and help protect the Chattahoochee, so let’s hope Ted gets wind of this firing soon, and maybe he’ll sets his fiery sights on some of OUR now 17-member Board of Natural Resources toadies and their (WAY poor by comparison) Senatorial cronies.

    Full discloser: view my video handiwork for UCR here:
    http://blip.tv/file/199429

    Y’all come on May 10th, okay?! And meet the many people who ARE seriously committed to clean rivers and clean water in Georgia… especially you State Senators who voted to get rid of Sally. I’ll make sure I drop LOTS of Senate names too that evening, just so all the well connected, deep-pocketed folks there that night know WHO voted to get rid of Sally. And of course I’ll blog ’em too!

    And Wilson Smith, you read this blog, right? Tell Mr. Williams (R – Lyons) that I’m very, very unhappy with him today. He’ll now have to answer to the SGR. Bless his heart; he don’t know what he’s done, poor thang…

  2. Erick says:

    That reminds me, I really would LOVE to kayak the Chattahoochee from ATL to Columbus. I bet that one be one hell of a cool trip.

  3. SpaceyG says:

    Sure Erick, just shove the sludge and filth aside and paddle on down at your leisure. Who needs clean water to play in??!! Not our Senate nor the DNR apparently.

  4. Demonbeck says:

    Wow, how did they know that she was the only environmentalist on the DNR Board? Did the others readily admit that they don’t care about the environment or are we just taking the Chatahoochee Riverkeeper’s word on this one?

  5. Demonbeck says:

    Wouldn’t be the first time Donkey Kong.

    Seriously, most people wouldn’t classify Ducks Unlimited as an environmental organization, yet they do more than the government to save and conserve wetlands/duck habitats.

  6. Donkey Kong says:

    Similarly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing an extraordinary job getting computers in the classroom. But, horrors, it’s private enterprise at work!! Ducks Unlimited, B&M Gates, et al, do very well at what they do, but are hardly recognized for their impact. The government is only recognized for its work because its results are broadcast every election cycle, and often the results include negative connotations.

  7. griftdrift says:

    Yes, yes, we should definitely give them the benefit of the doubt. Because the private developer industry in this state has such a historic record for conservation. Hear, hear.

  8. SpaceyG says:

    Good question Demonbeck for, say, mainstream media, the good folks at the AJC for instance, the ones with the resources, to follow-up that kinda question.

    Ooops! Forgot! Silly me! The AJC just kicked to the curb most of their entire stable of reporters. Guess that kinda investigative background work about just what ARE the backgrounds of the “improved” DNR board will revert to… us bloggers. Scary, huh?

  9. Jmac says:

    Where’s the listing of the current folks on the Board of Natural Resources? Because I can see how the conflit of interest argument can be made, but the usage of natural resources – in any capacity – is done by each and every business/organization out there.

    Granted this one particular organization may directly lobby for environmental conservation, but businesses and developers which lobby for more lax regulation would also seem to be at fault.

    At some point, actually having individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds – including those which lobby for and against certain measures – would seem to be a constructive thing.

  10. SpaceyG says:

    FYI… I just spoke to Sally Bethea, and by no means was she reinstated. Quite the opposite.

    Think I’m going to call-up each individual DNR board member and ask ’em if they pressured Williams’ Committee on Assignments to drop Bethea because she “asked too many questions.” I too got a few unanwered questions about all this. Silly girl that I am!

    I’ll blog the results over at SGR… when I feel like it.

    Or if any one of the droves of environmentalists here on Peach Pundit get so inspired, here’s the list:
    http://www.gadnr.org/pdf/bdlist.pdf

    Anyone who has a list of the Committee on Assignments members who so eagerly do Tommie Williams’ bidding, please email that to me at:
    [email protected]

    Thanks!

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