The study will not conclude until the end of this year, and presenting the findings to the applicable state and federal agencies will take more time. GDOT has still not scheduled the necessary geologic studies at the Dobbins Mountain road cut for potential acidic rock and runoff, nor has it developed a mitigation plan to contain any acid runoff. This would take GDOT several months to complete, if GDOT chooses to follow the directions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce President Al Hodge incorrectly asserted that Route D-VE is the “compromise.” This route is no compromise; it was selected before all the facts were known. Contrary to his claim, if the easement is upheld to protect the Euharlee wildlife refuge, it would not set legal precedent and lead to other blocked road projects throughout the country.
The refuge in Bartow County is legitimate, as it fully complies with federal regulations. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the easement meets at least three conservation criteria, including providing habitat for protected wildlife species.
Hodge also says that any change to the route would result in the project being stalled for another seven years. What does he think is going to happen when GDOT’s incomplete Route D-VE is challenged in court by landowners? And what if GDOT loses again in court? The selection of an alternate route (Routes A or G) would actually prevent years of lawsuits and could be constructed sooner. It is time to “cut bait” on GDOT’s absurd Route D-VE, before we lose the entire road project.
On a personal note, I have 5 grandchildren living in Bartow County. I would like to preserve as much natural habitat for them to enjoy as possible.