The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper this week blocked an effort by Fulton County's Charlie Brown Airport to cut down nearly 20 acres of forest along the nearby Chattahoochee River and its tributaries.
The nonprofit convinced the state Environmental Protection Division to withdraw a variance — a legal provision that, if approved, permits people to waive or alter regulations — it issued last summer to Fulton County that would've allowed airport officials to cut down the forested area.
According to Juliet Cohen, the riverkeeper's general counsel, the particular rule that the county wanted to "vary" was the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act, which requires a 25-foot minimum buffer of protection along all state waters. She said officials wanted to clear the airspace around the aviation facility to comply with federal safety regulations.
However, the variance that the state agency issued airport officials last summer didn't include any plans by the county or the EPD to mitigate the loss of the forests' sustaining functions. Those include filtering stormwater runoff, blocking erosion and pollution, and nourishing the local wildlife.
The riverkeeper appealed the move, and after initial settlement discussions, the EPD decided to withdraw the variance. The airport, which had planned to clear 150 total acres of forested buffer around its runways, has agreed to rethink its deforesting ways and provide mitigation for the potentially harmful consequences that future clear-cutting might cause.
“We agree that the airport runways need to be operated according to all air safety regulations, and that mitigation is an appropriate way to satisfy the loss of buffer functions to meet any change in those regulations,” UCR Executive Director Sally Bethea said in a statement. “For now, the trees that line the banks of the Chattahoochee River and Sandy Creek near Charlie Brown Airport will continue to help keep these important waterways clean.”
What many folks don't realize is the role that universal health coverage plays in reducing…
What? An honest man in the House? If this trend caught on how would we…
Mo gibs muh 'dat.
One step forward, two steps back.
Hey "Here's Your Editorial", what does Dale Earnhardt Junior have to do with this article?