Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on the Environment

From Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains to her ‘Golden Isles’ and the rivers, forests and farmland in between, our state is blessed with many vital natural resources. I am committed to ensuring our natural resources are maintained through conservation, smart growth and environmentally sound technology.

Our Water
As Georgia recovers from the worst drought in over a century, our state and the Southeastern United States have learned quickly the importance and value of clean drinking water.

It has become clear that the United States would benefit greatly from a national strategy for drinking water.  In the Senate, I introduced the Twenty-First Century Water Commission Act to establish a commission that would develop strategies to increase water supplies and improve the availability, reliability and quality of freshwater resources.  This legislation would give states the tools they need to create water policies that reflect 21st century demand and usage and help meet the needs of the United State for the next 50 years, including strategies that avoid increased mandates on state and local governments, considering all available technologies.  The commission would also be required to suggest financing options.

I have continually worked to force the Army Corps of Engineers to update the water control manuals for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River basins that serve Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  I have urged the governors of the three states to come to the table to negotiate, and I believe we have moved this issue farther in the last two years than it has moved in the past 20 years.

From Lake Lanier to Lake Allatoona, from Atlanta to West Point Lake, and from Atlanta to LaGrange to Columbus, we have worked to find a solution that benefits all the people and regions of our state.

I am committed to protecting our state’s water supply and the infrastructure that ensures its quality because it is vital to our security and the health of our citizens. I was pleased to serve on the conference committee that crafted a compromise on the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes Army Corps of Engineers projects dealing with flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation. This bi-partisan, fiscally responsible bill was a tremendous step for Georgia and is an investment in safe drinking water, in storm water management, and in flood control and water resources of the United States.

Our Air
We have made great strides in Georgia in recent years with improved air quality across the state. The majority of cities have achieved new, higher air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations. These achievements are important for continued economic growth and development.

I also supported the Clear Skies Act because it is unfair that the EPA unilaterally chose to ‘move the goalposts’ on states and communities that are diligently working to meet current clean air standards. Non-attainment of federal air quality standards seriously impacts an area’s ability to attract and retain jobs. The impact it has on the tax base causes negative repercussions on schools, emergency services and the community. Currently, 60 percent of Georgia’s citizens live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. I believe the Clear Skies Act is a better form of regulation than the current law.

We have learned a great deal about what approaches to cleaner air work best. We must implement market-based approaches to air and water quality that guarantee results while keeping utility prices affordable for Americans.

Our Land
It is necessary to conserve our natural resources while still providing for economic opportunity. That’s why during my terms in Georgia government, as well as in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate, as a member of the subcommittee that focuses on wildlife protection, I have introduced and co-sponsored legislation that preserves our environment through conservation tax easements.


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