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Capitol Conservation Day 2017 - Tonya Bechtler Reflects

Tonya Bechtler, with Yellow River Water Trail, attended Capitol Conservation Day for the first time this year and gave us some insight on her experience.

"Mark Wilson and I attended our very first Capitol Conservation Day this Legislative Session. Thank you Georgia Water Coalition, Georgia River Network and ALL the partners for a wonderful introduction to policy making at the State Capitol -WOW! In 2015, our volunteers with the Yellow River Water Trail discovered Newton County was in the process of leasing our County owned landfill to a 3rd party for VERTICAL expansion.

Unfortunately the Newton County leaking landfill (under a 2012 Environmental Protection Division Corrective Action Plan for groundwater contamination from UNLINED trash cells) is located directly on the Yellow River and the elevation of the proposed “trash mountain” could reach up to 14 stories high from our kayak view. Overwhelmed with “how to protect” our community and river from contamination, we began with the front line defense of lobbying our County Commissioners.

But protection is also dependent on adequate laws on a National and State level. Attending Capitol Conservation Day at the State Capitol was an eye opener. We were debriefed on pending laws

that are crucial and given instructions on reaching our local representatives to solicit their help. HOW EXCITING! It is not as difficult as it seemed. I was able to meet with my local representatives and have facetime for direct discussions about pending laws that really matter.

Thank you everyone who makes this happen every February during the Georgia Assembly."

~Tonya Bechtler

Yellow River Water Trail

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