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Gas prices in Georgia counties show environmental law conflicts

Without giving a big, detailed overview of how the U.S. government works, it is simple enough to understand that there are state and federal laws. That is true even specifically to environmental laws in Georgia. In fact, did you know that gas prices from county to county in the state might differ because of a tug-of-war between state lawmakers and federal laws?

In general, federal law is the law of the land. Laws in Georgia could differ, but not in more lenient directions. That at least is true in regards to national environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Sometimes, the state will have to change its regulations in order to fit in with what the federal government requires. For example, if the air quality isn't where environmental law requires it to be, steps must be taken. That situation is what has resulted in a discrepency in gas prices between at least two Georgia counties.

In the summer, gas prices are lower in Bibb County compared to in Jones County. The reason is because of air quality standards. One county has something to prove to the feds, whereas the other county doesn't have a history of putting too much pollution in the air. The gas in Jones County is different and more expensive for its healthier environmental properties.

Some criticize the difference in environmental requirements and prices. Critics in the state argue that the state should have more control over regulations related to business and commerce.

Environmental matters can get complicated. Parties involved in a pollution dispute tend to have arguments that could all be rooted in places of good intentions. An environmental lawyer can help someone identify their good intentions and use those intentions for justice.

Source: The Macon Telegraph, "Georgia ‘Red Tape’ panel questions green rules," Maggie Lee, March 5, 2014

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