GA moving forward on sped-up environment permits - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA moving forward on sped-up environment permits

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By RAY HENRY
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia regulators are considering how to speed up the processing of environmental permits for firms willing to pay a premium.

A little-noticed Senate bill passed this year allows firms seeking permits from the Environmental Protection Division to pay a premium so they get results faster. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce pushed for the bill, saying that authority was helpful to attract new jobs and industries to Georgia.

Environmental watchdog groups call it the "pay-to-play" law.

Final program rules have not been adopted. State officials are still discussing how the system will work. The state government will still have final say on whether a permit is issued.

Critics worry about potential conflicts of interest between those seeking permits and those getting paid to do the reviews.

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