Georgia lawmakers allow state DOT to forego Environmental Effects Report

ATLANTA — Georgia state lawmakers approved a measure that allows the Georgia Department of Transportation the ability to forego an Environmental Effects Report if the project passes environmental and historical preservation standards, officials said.

Senate Bill 346 now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature or veto. Opponents worry the potential new law could threaten historic sites that stand in the way of road projects.

This potential exemption would only apply to projects using state funds that cost less than $100 million. The use of a federal dollar requires following federal environmental regulations, officials said. The final version of the bill strengthens the testing standards for archaeological and historical sites.

“Because of the commitment and foresight from the General Assembly, Georgia has the ability to invest in transportation infrastructure improvements and repairs across the state,” state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said in a release. “Under existing law, as a part of the approval process, each project is required to comply with six state environmental standards. This bill helps get our transportation dollars to work in a more efficient way to save taxpayer dollars.”

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