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Effingham takes Capitol by storm
Annual Day at the Capitol proves beneficial
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Effingham County Chamber of Commerce members, elected officials and Effingham County High School students gather on the rotunda steps at the Capitol on Tuesday morning. The Effingham Day at the Capitol concluded Tuesday morning with brief meetings with state leaders, following Mondays meetings with state Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Division officials. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Nearly 80 Effingham County government, business and civic leaders made the annual trek to Atlanta for Effingham Day at the Capitol and by all accounts, it was one of the most successful and productive in some time.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything went this year,” Effingham Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rick Lott said. “I think we presented a cohesive front for Effingham County, and got a great deal accomplished.”

Said State Sen. Jack Hill: “It’s been a really successful Effingham Day."

Monday’s meetings with the state Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Division went well, and information gleaned at the EPD turned out to be eye-opening, according to participants. The discussion with EPD Director Jud Turner didn’t start down the King America Finishing/Ogeechee River road, but it turned there.

Turner told them the agency has been more stringent on King America Finishing, limiting their discharge to a fraction of the river’s flow.

Turner told the Effingham delegation the EPD has not done a good job getting information out about what it is doing in regard to King America’s permit and discharge into the Ogeechee. Commissioner Vera Jones suggested the EPD produce a “white paper” on the King America Finishing-Ogeechee River.

The EPD will hold public hearing March 5 at 7 p.m. at Effingham County High School on King America Finishing’s proposed consent order to address alleged violations of the Georgia Water Quality Control Act.

EPD representatives are scheduled to make a brief presentation at the hearing’s start but will not be required to answer questions from the audience. They may be asked to answer questions to clarify technical points.

DOT Commissioner Keith Golden praised the Effingham contingent for its collaboration on transportation issues.

“Just the transportation planning you see going on, you don’t see in a lot of other communities,” he said.

Golden also Effingham is one of the few counties that has taken advantage of the DOT’s high-risk rural roads programs.

Effingham’s delegation also drew praise from other state leaders, including Speaker of the House David Ralston.

“I want to thank you for taking time away from your businesses and homes to be up here and advocate for Effingham County,” Ralston said.