Regardless of where you fall in terms of religion and politics, the buzz surrounding Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment is certainly interesting. Those who are familiar with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the issue know that concern for the environment has become an increasingly important message, even if that concern has been voiced by previous popes and has been around for years.
We began speaking last time about enforcement of Georgia’s Erosion and Sedimentation Act. We’ve already mentioned that one possible avenue is enforcement action by the Environmental Protection Division or other appropriate authority. The other possibility is for a private party to initiate a tort action against an offending party.
In our last post, we spoke about criticisms that are being leveled against the new lineup of the formerly independent but now government backed Soil and Water Conservation Commission. One of the points we noted, in speaking of the heavy representation from industry on the new commission lineup, is that businesses, environmentalists and private citizens often have competing interests when it comes to soil and water quality, and environmental issues in general. The concern with a largely pro-business representation in the organization that helps set soil and water policy is rooted in this concern.
Those who follow environmental news and policy here in Georgia know that one of the recent developments in the area of soil and water quality is that state law was recently changed so that the Governor is now able to make appointments to the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, which used to be an independent authority.