1. Georgia Water Coalition Legislative Update
Interbasin Transfer Regulations a Hot Topic as Session Nears Close
On April 15, the House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation that will regulate interbasin water transfers in Georgia. But this legislation faces powerful opposition. We need your help to push this much-needed legislation forward!
Next stop: the House Rules Committee, where legislators decide if the bill will get a vote before the full House.
The growing support for regulation of interbasin water transfers has been fueled by recent proposals to pipe water to Metro Atlanta from as far away as Lake Burton in Rabun County and wells in South Georgia.
The state’s existing laws regulating interbasin transfers are weak, only requiring the
Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to issue a press release seven days before approving a permit involving a transfer of water from one river basin to another. The proposed regulations would not prohibit interbasin transfers, and they are similar to the criteria found in the statewide water plan for donor and receiving river basins. Both Tennessee and South Carolina have similar state laws regarding interbasin transfers.
A better alternative to interbasin transfers is water conservation and efficiency. Metro Atlanta could save between 130 and 210 million gallons of water per day by implementing water efficiency and conservation. Interbasin Transfers are costly, very controversial and would take a long time to provide drinking water. The cost of efficiency measures ranges from $0.46 to $250 per 1,000 gallons saved or new capacity. Water efficiency FIRST is the most cost-effective and timely solution.
Call your representatives TODAY, especially if they sit on the House Rules Committee, and ask them to: “Call on the Rules Committee to bring SB 442 before the full House for a vote. Vote YES on SB 442 as amended to regulate interbasin transfers.”
Please take action ASAP. Only 4 legislative days remain. You can also take action here: http://www.protectgeorgia.net/takeaction.asp?aaid=4647
Clean Water Funds Targeted to Fill Budget Gap
The sell-off of as much as $450 million of the Georgia Fund, as a bond package, to provide $290 million towards the state budget shortfall was approved when the Senate passed a version of HB 244 amended to include the sell-off, which was agreed to by the House.
The Georgia Fund is a state revolving loan fund that has provided more than $594 million for water and sewer improvements over the last five years via low-interest loans to cities, counties and water authorities. The state of Georgia is facing a massive budget deficit, but changing state law to sell off funds for water and sewer improvements threatens our clean water supply and economic growth. Governor Perdue’s FY2011 budget recommended the sell off. This proposal eliminates important funding for local governments and water authorities at a critical time when we need them to invest in fixing leaky pipes and upgrading water and sewage systems to provide plentiful clean water. The proposal could result in higher water bills and fewer new jobs. Local governments will likely have to pay higher rates to get the funds they need elsewhere and these higher costs will be passed onto ratepayers and important projects that create jobs and provide clean water will be delayed or even eliminated.
2. Altamaha Riverkeeper and other Job Openings
Altamaha Riverkeeper is looking for a new Riverkeeper as James Holland retires. For more on this and other environmental job opportunities (including one at the Len Foote Hike Inn!), go to http://www.garivers.org/resources/jobs.html
3. Paddle Georgia 2010 – Register Now
Paddle Lite is sold out. A few spots are still open for thru paddlers, but they’re very limited!
This summer, join fellow paddling enthusiasts for Paddle Georgia, a week-long, 80-mile canoe/kayak adventure on North Georgia’s Broad and Savannah rivers from Elberton to Augusta and experience Georgia as you never have before.
• Daily paddle trips averaging 11 miles
• Nightly camping with meals, games, entertainment and educational programs
• Tours of industrial facilities, historic sites and more
• Scientific research including chemical and biological water monitoring
• Companionship and camaraderie with hundreds of fellow paddlers
• Fundraiser for Georgia River Network, Broad River Watershed Association and Savannah Riverkeeper
Learn more at http://www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/pghome.html.
River Protector Sponsors - Georgia Power
River Runner Sponsors - Hennessey Land Rover
River Rapids Sponsors - CYA Agency Inc., International Paper, Kettle Foods, Mohawk, Outside World, Patagonia, REM
Contributing Sponsors - Burt’s Bee, Café Campesino, China Clay Producers, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nature Valley, Oglethorpe Power, Peachtree The Rain Barrel Company, REI, Sahale Snacks
In Kind Sponsors - Georgia Aquarium, Menasha Ridge Press
4. National River Rally - Snowbird, Utah
May 21-24 River Rally!
5. ACF Water Conference and Summit
Theme: “Managing River Flows from a Human and Ecological Perspective”
When/Where: June 1-3, 2010, The Charles H. Kirbo Center at Bainbridge College
6. University of West Georgia Water Conference
UWG is hosting the forum, "Legal and Operational Challenges to Water Conservation," to discuss Georgia's water issues on Friday, April 23, in the Campus Center Ballroom. The all-day event will feature discussions by water experts from across the region and nation, and it will also include a luncheon provided by the conference. The evening will conclude with dinner and a gubernatorial candidates' forum. There will be an open reception for the community. To register, please go to http://www.westga.edu/water/index.php
7. Connect with Earth Day Activities through Conserve Georgia
To help connect Georgians with Earth Day events near them, a new tool has been created on ConserveGeorgia.org. Visit ConserveGeorgia.org and click on Earth Day to find an event near you or to register your event free of charge. A description of the event, where and when it will take place, and how visitors can participate will be posted, along with a link or contact information for the host organization. All submissions can be done online at http://www.ConserveGeorgia.org.
8. Clean Water Act Handbook Available
EPA has updated its Clean Water Act section 401 water
The handbook was first published in 1989 but
has been significantly revised and expanded in this
update. The updated
handbook is available now as an interim version on the EPA website (http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/waterquality)
and will be expanded
with more examples, best practices and references over
the next year.
9. ICL Vision to Impact Program
Build leadership and take your organization to the next level. Learn more at www.icl.org/programs/signature-intensive/vision-impact
10. Cool Waters: A Water Workshop for Georgia’s Educators
Georgia Association of Water Professionals is holding a three-day water workshop, June 9-11. 2010. Participants will learn more about drinking water, wastewater, water conservation, and surface water through daily field trips and hands on, outdoor activities. Many valuable resources will be provided, including: Project WET/Urban Watershed, Project Learning Tree, and Adopt-A-Stream. Workshop space is limited. Registration deadline is May 28, 2010. Register online at www.gawp.org or call 770-794-5227 for more information.
11.James Holland, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Retiring
You can celebrate the man and support the river on May 1 by attending James’s retirement party on May 1. Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland will retire effective April 30 after nearly a decade leading one of Georgia's most active grassroots environmental watchdog organizations. Although stepping down as Riverkeeper, Holland plans to remain active through his work photographing wildlife and "educating others about what a beautiful world we have out there." Details at http://altamahariverkeeper.org/.
12. Join the Georgia Environmental Action Network or GEAN
GEAN is an on-line system that periodically provides you with information on the most important environmental issues and gives you the choice to take action and let decision makers know your views. The GEAN system automatically matches you to your elected officials, includes your contact information and delivers letters – all with one mouse click. Go to www.protectgeorgia.net and click “sign up”. When signing up, don’t forget to indicate that you are a member of Georgia River Network.
13. Eight Strategic Mistakes with Memberships
Click here to read the article
14. Taxes! Have You Filed Your 990?
Beginning in 2010, tax-exempt organizations that are required to file an annual information return (IRS Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-N) but haven’t for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status.
Small organizations with annual gross receipts of $25,000 or less should take special note. Prior to 2008, these organizations did not have to file an annual information return. The IRS introduced the 990-N (e-Postcard) in 2008 and required small organizations to complete it. Small organizations that failed to submit the 990-N in 2008 and 2009 will lost their tax-exempt status if they again fail to file in 2010.
If an organization loses its tax-exempt status for failure to file, it must reapply by filing Form 1023 or Form 1024 and pay the appropriate application fee. If the IRS approves the application, tax-exempt status will be effective as of the date of the application, unless the organization demonstrates reasonable cause for failure to file. Any income from the date of the revocation to the new effective date may be taxable.
For organizations with a fiscal year end of December 31, your annual information return is due to the IRS by May 15. Submit it on time or face fees and penalties, and possibly the loss of your tax-exempt status.
15. Five Environmental Message Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Click here to read the article
16. Fundraising Deadlines
The following foundations are either new to our list of grants or have upcoming deadlines to submit proposals. To view grant makers that give throughout the year, visit our website at http://www.garivers.org/resources/tools/grants.html.