Bill sets new water spill rules for Ga. officials

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By AP

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Updated: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 02:14:45 EST

ATLANTA (AP) — Environmental regulators in Georgia would work with local responders on how to handle toxic spills under legislation being debated by House lawmakers.

The legislation approved by a House committee on Monday would make it tough for state officials to trim funding for the emergency response wing of the Environmental Protection Division by writing its duties into law.

Environmental groups began pushing for the law after a series of spills revealed problems in emergency response.

For example, firefighters poured water on a chemical plant to put out a blaze in 2010, inadvertently washing formaldehyde and other chemicals from the factory into a nearby creek. An estimated 15,000 fish later died.

If a spill threatened downstream health or safety, environmental officials would have to consult with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

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