Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oconee County BOC Chairman Davis Addresses Interbasin Transfer Issue

One Out of Three

The Oconee Enterprise in today’s edition quotes me as saying three things at the meeting on Tuesday night.

I did say one of them.

Here’s what the paper’s story on the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday night reported:

"Visitor Lee Becker emphasized the importance of securing water if the rapid build-out of Hard Labor Creek Reservoir proceeds."

I really don’t know what it means. To make sure I hadn’t said it, I listened to the video and audio recording I made of the meeting. Nothing I said was even close.

Hard Labor Creek is proceeding and is designed to address the water needs of Oconee and Walton counties. Oconee and Walton counties are discussing with the state the possibility of obtaining state funding to speed up the project as a way to help Atlanta with its urgent water needs.

The Enterprise story continued:

"Becker emphasized his concern that the county could lose its own access to water if Atlanta was given too much authority."

I never said that either, but, in this case, I know what the sentence means.

The story then said:

"And in a related issue, he was concerned that water removed to satisfy Atlanta’s needs might reduce the amount of water downstream in the Apalachee."

This is pretty close. I said the county should be looking for ways to make sure that water that was transferred out of the basin–as any water sold to Atlanta will be–comes back into the basin after use. In fact, this was the sole issue I raised about the discussions.

The paper said that Commission Chairman Melvin Davis and commissioners Chuck Horton and Jim Luke emphasized "that those issues had already been discussed."

Davis was particularly clear in saying that in discussions so far about the possibility of moving water from the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir to Atlanta "Interbasin transfer was discussed, putting water back in the Apalachee."

That was new, but the paper didn’t seem to realize that.

The experience only confirms what many people who attend BOC meetings know. It is better to be ignored by the Enterprise than quoted in it.

By the way, though I was labeled a visitor, I do live in Oconee County and identified myself as a resident before I spoke.

My name and address also are on the subscription list for the Enterprise.

NOTE: Here is how my comments were recorded by County Clerk Gina Lindsey in the officially approved minutes for the meeting on 8/28/09.

Citizen Remarks: Lee Becker expressed his appreciation for Oconee and Walton Counties’ discussions with representatives of the Governor’s Office on obtaining State and Federal funds for the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Project. Mr. Becker asked the Commissioners to keep in mind the issue of inter-basin transfer of waters and how water will be returned to the Oconee River Basin.


Oconee Democratic said...

Who miswrote the story?

Lee Becker said...

The story was under the byline of Vinnie Williams, the publisher of the Enterprise, who regularly covers the BOC meetings for the paper.