NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reaching Across the Aisle
Today's bloggerHere is text of an email that I just sent to the President of the Atlanta Young Republicans. We'll see what happens:

May 9, 2007

Cameron Fash
President, Atlanta Young Republicans

Dear Cameron,

Hello, my name is Emily Schunior and I am the President of the Young Democrats ofAtlanta. I am reaching out to you in true old-fashioned bipartisan fashion to enlist your help and that of your group, the Atlanta Young Republicans.

I am sure your organization watched the Georgia General Assembly this year with as much interest as we did. We spent several days lobbying under the gold dome, and I am sure on many issues we were on opposite sides.

But one place where I know that we as young people in Atlanta, regardless of party, are typically in strong agreement is on protecting the environment. At our age, we are launching careers and starting families. We recognize a common responsibility to safeguard our natural resources, not only for the safety and happiness of ourselves and our own children, but for future generations. We also don’t share the same outdated views as many of our elders that economic development and environmental stewardship are mutually exclusive.

Therefore, I am sure you will join in my concern about the Senate’s failure last month to confirm the nomination of Sally Bethea, Executive Director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, to the Department of Natural Resources Board. She was widely considered the lone voice for the environment remaining on an 18-member board. The DNR Board has considerable impact on the natural resources in our state. Here is information about the makeup and purpose of the Board excerpted from the DNR website FAQs (which can be read in their entirety here: http://www.gadnr.org/pdf/visitor_info.pdf)

I. Who are the members of the Board of Natural Resources?
The Board of Natural Resources consists of 18 citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Georgia Senate. There is one member from each of the 13 congressional districts of the state. There are four “at large” members and one additional member from one of the coastal counties (Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn, and Camden Counties)….

II. What are the Board’s Powers and Duties?
…[T]he Board has the power to establish the general policies to be followed by theDepartment of Natural Resources…. It also enacts the rules… that govern the Department’s regulation of activities such as environmental protection and wildlife management. The Board does … appoint the Commissioner of the Department and the Director of the Environmental Protection Division. It also by statute approves the appointment by the Commissioner of the Director of the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division. By its own policies, it approves the appointment of all Division Directors. The Department consists of the Environmental Protection Division, the Coastal Resources Division, the Wildlife Resources Division, the Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division, the Historic Preservation Division, and the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division.

Even we moderate pro-business types can surely understand that a board with these duties, consisting solely and completely of business and development interests, is not in the long-term best interest of either our environment or our economy. We know the long term economic impacts of poor natural resources policies. Doesn’t it make far more sense to ensure a balance of voices and interests to weigh in on such important concerns?

Governor Perdue thought so when he appointed Sally Bethea.

Won’t you help us voice your concerns? We are writing letters and making calls to the Governor to encourage him to continue appointing environmental advocates as terms expire. We are also writing to our own Senators and in particular to Tommie Williams, Chair of the committee which reviewed Ms. Bethea’s nomination encouraging them to confirm environmental advocates in future sessions.

Here is contact information for Governor Perdue and Senator Williams:

Governor Sonny Perdue
Office of the Governor
Georgia State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office Phone: 404-656-1776
Send an email via:http://www.gov.state.ga.us/contact_dom.shtml

Senator Tommie Williams (R-19)
148 Williams Avenue
Lyons, GA 30436
(912) 526-7444

We appreciate your help in preserving a fair and balanced DNR Board – that’s good for everyone in every party.

Best regards,
Emily Schunior
President, Young Democrats of Atlanta
(404) 202-8430

For Further Reading:
Overview Article from the Savannah paper

Bipartisan discussion

Editorial from AJC

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posted by Emily Schunior at 5/10/2007 09:30:00 AM


Blogger Shelby said...

And then, the paintball.

Commence breathholding!

5/10/2007 03:28:00 PM  

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