Barnes Vetoes Follow Activists' Leads Environmental Cost Plan Fails

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Williams, Times-Union staff writer

ATLANTA -- For the third year in a row, Gov. Roy Barnes has vetoed legislation opposed by environmental activists.

This year's bill called for state regulators to weigh the costs of proposed environmental regulations before imposing them.

It was among a short list of vetoes handed down by Barnes during the 40 days the state Constitution gives him to act on measures adopted by the General Assembly. The governor axed the measure late Tuesday, one day before the deadline fell.

House Bill 587 would have created an advisory committee to develop guidelines the state Board of Natural Resources could use to determine whether the benefit to be derived from environmental regulations under consideration would be worth the costs. It passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.

The bill's backers, including advocates for business and industry, pushed it as a common-sense way to come to grips with the growing expense of complying with burdensome government regulations.

"Every bill we pass costs money,'' said Rep. Burke Day, R-Tybee Island, one of the measure's co-sponsors. "Environmental bills, in particular, are so far-reaching that they're more expensive than we realize.''

But in his veto message, Barnes argued that the costs of determining those costs would be prohibitive. …