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Attorney General Sam Olens Files Lawsuit Asking Court to Overturn Burdensome ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule

Attorney General Sam Olens today has filed a lawsuit in federal court for the Southern District of Georgia asking the court to strike down a new rule from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that unlawfully expands the federal government’s regulatory reach over local streams, lands, and farms. He is joined by eight state attorneys general in the lawsuit. 

The rule, known generally as the “Waters of the United States” rule, would extend the EPA and Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach to an untold number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches and short-lived streams or any other area where the agencies believe water may flow once every 100 years.


This rule could have dire consequences for homeowners, farmers, and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks like digging ditches, building fences, or spraying fertilizers. Failure to comply with this new regulatory scheme could result in fines of up to $37,500 a day. 


“Today I am joining with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to challenge an unlawful and unprecedented expansion of federal power over private property owners and state and local matters” said Olens. “The scope of the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule is breathtaking and will directly impact the everyday lives of Georgians, from farmers to homeowners. Under this excessive and expensive rule, a farm pond, or even a homeowner’s backyard could be subject to federal regulation. As the federal government continues to issue burdensome and unconstitutional executive directives at an alarming rate, I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect and defend the interests of Georgians.”


“Through the finalization of this rule, a clear punitive overreach of the government’s power has taken place,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “I view this as a frontal assault on private property rights; federal overreach on steroids. My sincere hope is that through this joint complaint, we will thwart yet another blatant overreach of the federal government.”


In the complaint, the Attorneys General of West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin argue the final rule put forward by the EPA and Corps of Engineers violates the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the U.S. Constitution and usurps the states’ primary responsibility for the management, protection, and care of intrastate waters and lands.


While the Clean Water Act gave the EPA and Corps authority to regulate “navigable waters” – defined as “waters of the United States” – Congress made sure that states would retain their constitutional, sovereign responsibility over non-navigable, intrastate lands and waters. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the agencies’ attempts to expand their authority (in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. United States). However, this latest rule written by the two administrative agencies gives them virtually limitless power over these waters.


The complaint asks a federal judge to declare the rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the agencies from enforcing it. It also asks the judge to order the agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 30, 2015

On June 30, 1665, England’s King Charles signed a royal charter for Carolina, defining its southern border and also claiming all land in what is now Georgia.

On June 30, 1775, the Continental Congress passed the Articles of War, laying out complaints against Britain’s Parliament.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Today could well be called Intermodal Transportation History Day in Georgia. The first four-lane highway in Georgia was announced on June 30, 1937 from Atlanta to Marietta. The first C5 air flight took place from Dobbins in Marietta on June 30, 1968 and MARTA rail service began on June 30, 1979.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell first went on sale on June 30, 1936; on June 30, 1986, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating Margaret Mitchell.

Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1 on June 30, 1938.

The first Corvette was built on June 30, 1953 in Flint, Michigan.

Ohio became the 39th state to ratify the 26th Amendment on June 30, 1971, lowering the voting age to 18.

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing was released on June 30, 1989. Lee was born in Atlanta and graduated from Morehouse College.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Chair of the Georgia State House Appropriations Committee Ben Harbin (R-Evans) has told Governor Deal and Speaker David Ralston that he is retiring from the lower chamber effective July 7, 2015. Harbin’s political career, beginning after his first House election in 1994, spans the period in which the Georgia Republican Party went from a largely-suburban minority party to the dominant political force statewide. Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 30, 2015


April is a lively, happy adult female Labrador Retriever mix who enjoys human company, and loves to go for walks. She is a beautiful dog and would be a wonderful addition to an energetic family!

While she loves people and the attention they give, she’s not so fond of other animals. For this reason, April must be the only pet in the household. April is available for adoption from CSRA Humane Society, Inc. in Augusta, GA.


Sunshine is an young adult male Labrador Retriever mix, a longtime resident of the CSRA Humane Society. Found many years ago as a stray puppy (alongside his brother and his mom), our sunny boy is a bit on the shy side. He’ll greet most strangers with a bark and a retreat, but if you take the time to get to know him first, you will gain his trust and have a friend forever. Once he feels safe, he’s more than happy to sit next to you so you can stroke his head and pull on his ears. Sunshine is a bit selective with regards to doggy companions (he prefers submissive female dogs best).

Sunshine is available for adoption from CSRA Humane Society, Inc. in Augusta, GA.


Lola is a female Border Collie mix, about 1.5 to 2 years old. She was found stray in Burke County, where there is not county shelter and dogs are often dumped. We posted to try to find an owner, but nobody claimed her. Lola is a young adult female Border Collie-mix, house trained, good with dogs, and kids. She is a bit too interested in the kitties, so best in a home without them. She is a herding breed, so does like to herd the young children when they’re running.

Lola is available for adoption from Columbia County Animal Rescue in Evans, GA.


Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Elected Chair of Southern Attorneys General

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has been elected Chair of the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) for the second time in three years. The Southern Region includes the following 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Olens was elected chair by his fellow Southern attorneys general at the NAAG summer meeting in San Diego earlier this month. As chairman, he will serve on the Executive Committee of NAAG and be responsible for coordinating the agenda of the Southern Region.

“I am honored that my peers have placed their confidence in me to lead the Southern Region for NAAG for the second time” said Olens. “I look forward to working with my counterparts in the other Southern states on strategies and solutions to better our individual states and the entire Southern region.”Continue Reading..


Gov. Deal names sculptor for Capitol’s MLK statue

Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (Columbus) announced today that the state has selected Henry County-based sculptor Andy Davis to create the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. that will stand on Georgia Capitol grounds. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza. Deal tapped Smyre, Dean of the Georgia General Assembly, earlier this year to head up the effort and act as liaison between the state, the King Estate, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council and the Georgia Arts Standards Commission.

“Placing a statue of Dr. King at the Capitol of his home state is a long overdue honor, and selecting an artist is an important step forward in this process,” Deal said. “I am confident that Andy Davis’ past works, including a statue of Ray Charles in the singer’s hometown of Albany, have prepared him well for this historic project. I commend Rep. Smyre for his diligent efforts and leadership on this project and I look forward to seeing the final work of art.”Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 29, 2015


Ariel is an adult female Plott Hound mix with a beautiful brindle coat. She was found in Liberty County, abandoned after her people had moved. She had an embedded collar and was high heartworm positive, though she’s been treated. Ariel is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.


Gemma is a beautiful young adult lab mix girl, around 10 months old, spayed, heart worm negative, and up to date on all vaccines and preventions. Gemma is a young pup that is full of energy! She’ll need an active family that will keep her on her toes, or paws ;) This girl has a love for tennis balls, and often hoards them in her kennel, she just can never have enough! She is incredibly obedient and intelligent. She learns extremely quickly and even during a simple game of fetch, you will never see her lose focus from the ball. Gemma is extremely selective when it comes to other dogs, and is not very fond of cats. Given her energy level, it is best that no young children live in the household.

Gemma is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.


Blaze is a beautiful and sweet young female Pibble, still a puppy in many ways, who was dumped by her owners. Blaze is an amazing, smart, and very obedient girl.

Blaze must have been loved before because she knows several comments such as “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “shake” and “beg.” She is a complete lover that enjoys going on car rides and like most pups, rolling around in the dirt! She absolutely LOVES to fetch. She will do just about anything to get that tennis ball, especially one that squeaks! Once she sees one in your hand, she’ll automatically sit on her back legs waiting for it to be thrown ?

Blaze is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 29, 2015

On June 29, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed from Cadiz, Spain to invade Florida.

Johan De Kalb was born on June 29, 1721 in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb joined the Marquis de Lafayette in supporting the Americans against British forces, dying in Camden, South Carolina in 1780. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly created DeKalb County.

On June 29, 1767, the British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, levying a tax on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea in order to raise funds from the colonies.

The United States Supreme Court released its 5-4 opinion in Furman v. Georgia on June 29, 1972, holding that the death penalty violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

On June 29, 1993, Governor Zell Miller bought the first ticket in the Georgia Lottery.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Before we get into the politics, a public service message:

Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services needs foster home for approximately 200 children across the state.

“Adoptive parent recruitment is an important initiative for the Division of Family and Children Services,” said DFCS Director Bobby Cagle. “We have so many deserving children that can spend years waiting for a family. We hope that by building awareness of the need for permanent families that Georgians will open their hearts and homes to these children.”

Click the link for profiles of three sisters who need a home.


Early voting is open in the Special Elections and Special Runoff Elections in House Districts 24, 55, 48, 80, 146, and 155 and DeKalb County Commission District 5. Click here for early voting information for your county.

In DeKalb, Houston, and Fulton Counties, almost certainly others, no early voting will be available on July 3, but Saturday early voting will be open on July 4th. This is kind of cool and kind of goofy. Cool because it may be the only time you’ll be able to cast your vote on July 4th, as a legislative fix is being planned by at least one legislator in an affected area. Goofy because I think we’ll likely be paying time-and-a-half for poll workers to give up their holiday while very few voters will cast ballots.

Forsyth County’s elections officials discussed their predictions for early voting turnout in the July 14 runoff.

“It’s going to be lower than the last one, because we won’t have that city election involved,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections.

“However, we have had people stopping by [on Friday] to ask when voting is starting, and we do have some mail-out ballots that will be sent on Monday.

“Sometimes you get the same amount in the runoff, [others] it goes down a little bit. So it’s definitely going to be under 10 percent, but how much I don’t know, maybe half.”

The first week of advance voting will be cut short a day due to the July Fourth holiday Friday.

“June 29 through July 2, which is Monday through Thursday, we will be open at the Forsyth Administration Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.

The second week times will vary depending on the day.

“The second week, from July 6 through July 10, Monday through Thursday, we’ll be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.  “We’ll be at the administration building, and also we’ll be open at Midway Park Community Building [at 5100 Post Road].

“We have no Saturday voting this time. We’re not required to have Saturday voting on a runoff.”


Continue Reading..


Jim Kingston: Consider Jeb Bush on his merits, not his name

As we start the Presidential nominating process, more and more people wail, “I will not vote for another Bush!” I am not sure if he is the guy or not, but voters should consider more substance than just surname when picking a candidate. Jeb Bush was born with the name he was born with, just like I was, and just like you were. Governor Bush can not help who is relatives are, and we should not make snap judgments on him or anyone else running for office.

Voting against a candidate based on their name is antithetical to Republican principles. If we don’t want to have political royalty, neither should we discount someone’s record of personal and political achievement just because of their name.

As a Republican, you should be bringing maturity and intelligence to the debate instead of jumping to conclusions about someone based on who their Dad or Mom is.

Voting against Jeb Bush just because of his last name is no different than voting for someone based on their religion or their skin color.

While that may happen all the time, as a democratic society, we shouldn’t encourage that. History is filled with leaders who were elected because of their good looks, likeable personalities, and public speaking talents. If we are to learn from our past mistakes, we should remember that great leadership requires more than a passable first impression or rockstar charisma.

I first noticed voters categorizing the electorate in 2008 when Senator John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate. Someone told me “he is trying to get the women’s vote by picking a female for Vice President.” Assuming that women will just vote for you just because you are a woman is ridiculous. Ask Michelle Nunn how that worked out. There may be some outliers who vote based on gender, but the assumption that most women will blindly vote on this characterization is wrong.

I also have heard people lament that the Republican party needs to stop nominating “old people” because that will not help young people, or millennials, go out and vote.

As a young voter, let me set the record straight. Age is not the main factor when I walk to the ballot box.

Suggesting that a nominee who looks like me is going to influence my vote is offensive. I would rather vote for someone who is 90 years old and shares my values than someone who is 50 years old and does not.

Implying that the candidate’s appearance should reflect the demographic you’re trying to attract is pathetic.

That would be like saying the Atlanta Hawks need to recruit more white players in order to get more white people to buy tickets to games.

Most people are not that shallow, and don’t buy into stereotypes. Hawks fans want to see the most talented players and the most productive team play the game. Young voters want to see an effective, debt-free, government function to its most efficient capacity.

If your criticism of Jeb Bush is his position on taxes, or if you think that he did not nominate the right people to the Florida Supreme Court as Governor, then those are valid reasons why not to vote for him. You vote should be based on research. To draw premature conclusions on politicians based on name, gender, and race might be the norm, but it is not helpful to the process.

I have heard several times that Governor Bush was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

That statement is debatable, but let’s assume that it is true.

Since then, Jeb Bush earned a degree from the University of Texas, served as Florida Secretary of Commerce, managed the campaign of the first Cuban-American to serve in Congress, served as Dade County Republican Party Chairman, volunteered for the Reagan-Bush Presidential election and reelection, ran for Governor and lost, ran again and won, and was reelected for a second term.

The list goes on, but the point is, his name may have opened some doors that would have otherwise been shut, but he also worked hard to walk into the rooms.

When I was in high school, a teacher told me that George W. Bush had his Dad get him into Yale. But as far as I know, however, Yale does not just hand out degrees once you are enrolled.

I am not encouraging people to vote for Jeb Bush. I have not picked a candidate, but I do encourage people to research the candidates on their individual merits, vote in the primary and general elections, and support the candidate who best matches their values. When you are discussing who should lead our country, let their stances on the issues lead the debate. Don’t let labels, generalizations, or surnames affect our judgment.

By cutting your research short, you only hurt the country, the party, and your own image.Continue Reading..


Confederate groups vow to fight back |

The leader of Georgia’s Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter said Friday he plans to “counter the new attacks against our heritage” with a lobbying campaign, a membership drive and the threat of legal action against the state.

The group outlined its plans as Democrats and other critics vowed to step up their plans to end state holidays honoring Confederate history and phase out license plates and other state symbols with the Confederate battle emblem.

Jack Bridwell, who heads the Confederate group’s Georgia chapter, said in a note to members he has asked Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials for a sit-down to explain the state’s decision this week to stop issuing the group’s specialty plates. Deal pledged to “redesign” the tag days after a suspected white supremacist gunned down nine black worshippers at a Charleston church.

The group’s legal counsel is reviewing the decision, Bridwell said, but “we will certainly not rule out the possibility if the problem is not remedied immediately.”

via Confederate groups vow to fight back |


Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message – Decaturish

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in greater Decatur celebrated the installation at a Monday gathering to also support Pope Francis’ recent message about climate change.

Earlier this year, Hannah Solar, LLC installed about $200,000 worth of solar panels “zero cost to the parish” through a federal program, according to a story on the Episcopal News Service.

St. Timothy’s Rev. Daniel Dice told the news service that the solar panels make financial and ecological sense. The article said, “By selling the clean energy produced at St. Timothy’s back to the grid, the photovoltaic array atop St. Timothy’s will also help financially support the church’s mission and ministry to its community.”

Dice said, as a result of the solar panel installation, St. Timothy’s was chosen to hold Monday’s gathering to show support for the pope’s encyclical calling on people to stop polluting the planet.

via Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message – Decaturish.