Originally created 03/02/00

Environmental issues top Georgian's lists



Clean water is the top environmental issue on the minds of Georgia voters this election year, according to a statewide survey by the League of Conservation Voters.

The survey, which included 600 respondents statewide -- including 20 percent from the middle Georgia region that includes Augusta -- also found broad support for statewide efforts to conserve green space in growing counties.

"Almost three-quarters of voters, 73 percent, believe we can have a clean environment and strong economy simultaneously," said Terrilyn Bayne, the league's Georgia director.

Locally, there are several environmental issues important to Augusta-area voters, said Judy Gordon, conservation chairwoman for the Sierra Club's Savannah River group.

A major current issue is the fate of the Savannah River in light of the Corps of Engineers' plan to decommission New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Pollution in the river is also attracting growing attention, she said.

"I also think the governor's proposal on transportation and meeting air quality requirements will stir up a lot of voter interest, especially right here in Augusta," Dr. Gordon said.

On a national level, voters are concerned over policy issues for agencies such as the Corps, especially when it comes to how public lands along Thurmond Lake and other projects are used.

Ms. Bayne said the league's survey found more than 90 percent of voters are concerned about water quality in their area; air quality and its impacts on development and transportation; and the effects of growth and urban sprawl on the quality of life in fast-growing communities.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119.