View Full Version : environmental threat alert
02-18-02, 09:20 AM
Alert: The Ga.legislature has under consideration HB.1004---- which will require the EPD to record,and pass on to offending parties the name,address,and phone number of anyone reporting pollution events in the state! This bill,will encourage retalliation by offenders,toward those that observe, and report violators of existing regs.,and only require that the violation fail to be a "significant" one! This is idiotic, in as much as many state P.R.campaigns, encourage the reporting of drug dealing--drunk driving--children neglect--spousal abuse,etc and till now pollution reporting!; Without naming the reporting party!!!! Please contact your elected officials,and ask them to kill this turkey before it has a chance to fly! Regards, Rocketroy of Clarkesville
The Ole Man
02-18-02, 12:40 PM
Amazing how some corporate entities will try to wriggle out of their responsibility to do the right thing. They give a black eye to those that do work very hard to meet the obligation and comply with the law.
02-18-02, 09:11 PM
.....and is this all there is to it? What kind of "retalliation" would a corp. be able to do to someone? Do we think they'd send out assasins or something? I must admit a little red flag is up on this one......I mean.....so you tell them that you saw the water park in Helen spewing junk in the river.....and they tell the park who you are......what would they/could they do to you? My guess is NOTHING. At least not legally.
Is that wrong?
Maybe you could shed some more light on it for me. I doubt that corp.'s would send out thugs......now, Janet Reno, maybe. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/wink.gif
02-18-02, 09:35 PM
Owl, let's say you see something that just doesn't look right to you, and you report it. It turns out to be a legal discharge, and the next thing you know, you're being sued. Not so hard to imagine.
"A good gamefish is too valuable to be caught only once," - Lee Wulff
02-18-02, 11:48 PM
And if the corps push the issue, individuals could end up paying fines/costs for someone to investigate a "false" claim. This smells worse than the Hooch on a bad day.
I can do all things through Christ <bill><
02-19-02, 09:43 AM
I'm with Owl on this one. I don't know the details, but I'm wondering if the purpose behind the law is to stop the PETA- and ELF-types (or competitor corporations) from turning in anonymous complaints about non-polluting corps and forcing them to defend against frivolous claims. Of course, anytime you get legislators involved in making laws, you end up with unintended consequences, but I'm generally for letting the sunshine of disclosure fall on the shadowy areas of the law.
02-19-02, 11:26 AM
There are a few details here that you cannot afford to overlook. First is that in our courts we have the right to face our accusers, so eventually you are known to those you accuse. Second, individuals can take companies to court in a civil action, but if the violation is criminal, we have various law enforcement agencies to exercise an investigation and determine if the suspected violation is valid and can be successfully prosecuted. If you initiate a civil action, you do open yourself for a counter-suit and this helps balance against many frivilous suits. As for any retaliation, I wouldn't worry about a mugging in the parking lot, I would be worrying about more insidious methods such as losing my job, having my credit rating destroyed, calling in the mortgage, that sort of thing.
But even if this is passed, I should hope that no one here would be intimidated to where you are afraid to be accountable for your own actions.
02-19-02, 11:49 AM
Unfortunately a lot of people don't do things legally in society to get a little pay back if they feel they have been wronged. A lot of reports or tips come into the EPD from people that actually work with the company thats violating the law. How long do you think they would keep their job?
Big and small companies have long pockets that can buy a lot of favors. You know like everytime you are out in the neighborhood driving your car and you get pulled over for improper lane usage or failure to stop at the stop sign. These things do happen everyday out here in society because you might be on the wrong list. IMO keeping a list and giving it to corporations with the persons name,and address is asking for big trouble. Some of you might also be surprised to know that big and small compainies employ or contract out individuals to take care of these little problems that come up from time to time . There not lawyers either. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
I'll hold my opinion on this legislation but for the purpose of discussion everyone might want to read the proposed "amendment" to the already existing regulations.
The verbage of the bill states this only applies to violations by homeowners or owners or operators of individually owned farms.
[This message has been edited by Moye (edited 02-19-2002).]
I don't quite understand some of the previous replies to this thread.
Can somebody explain to me why this bill does not reek of intimidation?
Here is the wording of the original bill:
"(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person who initiates a complaint with the director regarding an alleged violation of any law or regulation to be enforced by the division shall provide such personīs name, telephone number, and address which information shall be provided by the director to the person or persons against whom the complaint has been raised prior to the commencement of any investigation of the alleged violation by the division."
Most environmental pollution tips are made by anonymous calls. The reason is that the tipsters fear they have something to lose. Whistle-blowers in companies risk their jobs, their current social status and their future employment opportunities all because they did the "right" thing.
Does it sound logical to make an enforcement agency notify a pollution violator before they can be investigated?
Maybe watering it down to homeowners and farmers more closely reflects the original intent. However, I don't know in what idealistic setting other folks live, but in parts of the county where I live, you could be at serious risk to your property and/or life if you report some farmer's or homeowner's environmental mess.
The EPD doesn't want this bill. This is an example of how the EPD takes the blame for what we as citizens allow in our legislature.
Ralph Twiggs (8th district) is the responsibility of the mountain folks. Garland Pinholster (15th district) is my representative and therefore my responsibility. I have a call into his office to find out what he is thinking.
Maybe RoyC or somebody can explain where this bill is in the legislature. I thought it already passed both the house and the Senate. This is the type of thing for which I save my letters to the governor.
Sorry for the soapbox. This one concerns me on principle.
[This message has been edited by THE EG (edited 02-19-2002).]
02-19-02, 06:30 PM
Thanks all - that's exactly what I was looking for....I knew there was something I was missing. So if I turn in GA power for polluting, we're worried they'd have me fired, get into my credit report and screw that up, and maybe ruin me in social circles. Well, at least I don't have to worry about one of em. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
02-19-02, 07:00 PM
What kind of behavior is this bill meant to discourage? Is it to keep whackos from wasting the time of EPD? Or is it to keep concerned citizens from asking the EPD to check out situations that are less than clear? If you don't give your name, will the EPD ignore your report of a possible (and, potentially dangerous) chemical spill?
Consider 3 scenarios:
1) Obvious violation. You see raw industrial waste spewing from pipe marked "rose water." Dead livestock mixed with a dark yellow sulfur solution draining into the Hooch. EPD sends out an agent to investigate. They notify the polluter, and perhaps file charges. The agent testifies in the court case. Question: Why is it important to the violator who turned them in? You won't be involved in the court case, EPD will.
2) No so certain it is a violation. You see some foam near a drain pipe into the river. You've never seen foam coming from this pipe, but even though you know foam can be caused by many things, including wind and rough water, you're not equipped to analyze this foam, and it looks gnarly. EPD sends out an agent. They look at the foam and say, "Nah, it is just natural foam caused by the wind we had this morning." End of case. Question: Why is it important to tell the violator who it was that saw the foam?
3) Obvious non-violation. You're mad at your neighborhood dog food manufacturer (don't laugh, we have one near Lake Lanier). You call EPD and falsely claim you saw a company truck dumping cow carcasses in the lake. EPD sends out an agent. They find no evidence of cow bodies in the lake. No tire tracks. Nothing. They call the dog food company and learn they don't even use cows in their food, just chickens. EPD chalks it up to a whacko call. No case is made. If they got your name, they put you on their "whacko list". Yes, I'll bet they have one. Again, Why is it important to tell the dog food company who the whacko is? Just ignore him next time.
Someone please give me a scenario where it makes sense for EPD to reveal your name to the "alleged violator".
The question was asked, "What kind of 'retalliation' would a corp. be able to do to someone?" Here's a question back, "If the corp. can't retaliate, why bother giving them your name?" The answer is, anyone can sue anyone about anything. When Big Dog Food Corporation files a defamation suit against you, even though they can't win, you've already lost. You don't have the time or money to defend yourself, believe me.
I think this bill is designed to further weaken environmental protections in this state and to discourage citizens from reporting possible violations.
Here's a scenario: If you see a spill of poison, and you call EPD to report it, and you refuse to give your name, and they decline to investigate an anonymous complaint, and someone's child dies as a result, can you be charged with manslaughter?
Interesting twist. I'm not too fond of AJC editorials because of their partisan slant but this one does have some facts about this bill.
[This message has been edited by THE EG (edited 02-22-2002).]
02-22-02, 09:36 PM
I think we already covered the fact that I didn't think of some sort of economic attack against the whistleblower. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif I was thinking about all those darn black copters and alien craft that hover over my mailbox at night. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/wink.gif
I think the htree senario post makes alot of sense, for what that's worth.
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