Mon., November 19, 2012 12:30pm (EST)

Ga. Speeding Up Some Environment Permits
By Associated Press
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Georgia regulators are considering how to speed up the processing of environmental permits for firms willing to pay a premium. 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. (Photo Courtesy of Ken Lund via Flickr.)
Georgia regulators are considering how to speed up the processing of environmental permits for firms willing to pay a premium. 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. (Photo Courtesy of Ken Lund via Flickr.)
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.