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Water pollution enforcement bill returns to Senate

ATLANTA (AP) -- A proposal giving water polluters a chance to voluntarily clean up their act is getting a second chance in the Senate after it was pulled from the agenda last week for lack of support.

Senate Bill 269 would allow offenders to voluntarily clean up the pollution in cooperation with state Environmental Protection Division director. Offenders would operate under a consent order that could be repeatedly extended in six month increments by the director if the offender is found to be working in good faith to fix the problem.

The bill also included a provision that would fine violators who fail to comply with such orders. Critics balked at the bill, saying it allowed violators to skirt the law and avoid fines.