ATLANTA — Georgia's Attorney General says state agencies like the Department of Transportation are exempt from local rules governing storm water run-off.
The ruling by Attorney General Thurbert Baker follows a challenge by the Georgia DOT over construction of a park and ride lot near a creek in Douglasville. When local officials told the DOT they'd have to apply for a storm water permit, the agency appealed. Baker ruled local governments have no power to regulate the state.
However, environmentalists like Sally Bethea with the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper says the ruling creates a double standard.
"If water quality standards are good for private developers, citizens and local governments, then we think state agencies, particularly the Georgia DOT should adhere to it as well. We very much believe there should be state consistency."
DOT officials applaud the attorneys general's ruling, saying it frees them from having to meet standards for Georgia's 159 Counties.
However, all state agencies, including the DOT, remain bound by rules from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.