February 29, 2008 


 Thursday, March 6, 2008, 7:00PM at the Newton County Courthouse

 The requests to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to hold a public hearing on Bear Creek Reservoir (BCR) was great enough to merit a response; however, that response has come from Newton County’s Attorney, William T. (Tommy Craig), and not the USACE. 

See letter here: http://www.taxdogs.com/BCR%20Info%20meeting%203.6.08.pdf

Many citizens in Jasper County can recall Tommy Craig’s “informational hearing” at the Jasper County Courthouse in December, 2003, showing all the reasons why Jasper County should become a 25% partner in a reservoir that wasn’t permitted and didn’t exist.

Tommy Craig is not only the applicant for the reservoir as well as the Newton County Attorney, but he is also involved with the firm of Joe Tanner & Associates. 
Joe Tanner, former DNR head; Harold Reheis, former EPD head; and Tommy Craig all were presenters at a seminar this past December titled “Permitting Water Reservoirs in Georgia—Guidance for meeting your Future Water Needs.”    

See Seminar Info here: http://www.taxdogs.com/Reservoir%20Seminar%2012.12.07.pdf

Having Mr. Craig and members of his law firm (Scott Cole) hold public informational meetings will more likely be a propaganda show as to why the reservoir is necessary.  When you are a “water consultant” for many reservoirs, your main job is to convince people how good reservoirs are.  As they said in the seminar, Joe Tanner & Associates can show “how to best navigate the course to water independence.”  As one citizen commented, “This is more like the fox watching over the hen house.  The USACE should be holding this hearing.”

 Following is an article that ran Saturday in the Newton Citizen about the meeting and BCR.


 3/1/2008 12:01:00

Meeting on Bear Creek is Thursday
Crystal Tatum
Staff Reporter, Newton Citizen

COVINGTON - The public has the chance to get an update on the Bear Creek Reservoir and give input at a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday [March 6, 2008] at the Newton County Historic Courthouse on the Square.

A general overview of the project will be given, followed by a question and answer session, said Scott Cole with the County Attorney's Office.

On Jan. 9, a Joint Public Notice was issued for the project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  A Joint Public Notice is an open comment period when the Corps seeks input from all adjoining neighbors, environmental groups and other agencies on the potential impact of the reservoir. 
The comment period expires March 10.

County officials decided to hold a meeting to better inform the public, though it is not a Corps requirement, Cole said.  Representatives with the Corps will be present to observe the meeting, however, he said.

"We've invited all the people adjacent to the reservoir and the people who have commented so far, we've invited," he said.  "Input given by anybody that wants to come to it will certainly be considered in the process," he added.

After public comment closes, the Corps will investigate all issues raised, and it will likely take another 12 to 18 months before a permit is issued, Cole said.

The 1,242 acre pump-storage reservoir is intended to serve Newton County's water needs through the year 2050, pumping approximately 28 million gallons of water per day, according to the Corps.

The reservoir will be located in southeast Newton, and will overtake most of the more than 2,000 acres purchased by the county in 1996 along with Gaither Plantation, though the historic Gaither home, barn, log cabin and Harris Springs Primitive Baptist Church will remain.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.


 Citizens are urged to attend this meeting.  BCR will affect Jasper County by affecting Jackson Lake and the Alcovy River with 24/7 pumping to fill the reservoir. 


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