Editorial

A recent article by Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Grant Blankenship delves into one of the many ways re-framing an argument can change our minds.

We’ve got a decent amount of natural gas in our area and when prospectors began talking to people about getting that resource out of the ground in our area some were receptive.

The process, affectionately called fracking, uses fluids pumped into the ground at high pressure to break up shale formations to free the gas. The only problem is that those chemicals also pollute water, especially well water.

That’s a pretty serious concern. It’s nice to be able to benefit financially from a natural resource that’s prevalent in the area — but not at the expense of another natural resource that we depend on to an even greater extent.

Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman, executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, said that in order to get local support of regulations for fracking they had to re-frame the way they looked at presenting their arguments.

People were concerned about what the process would do to their water quality so they decided to take their argument to town hall-style meetings. The fact is when companies are fracking there’s no guarantee the process isn’t going to pollute the water in nearby properties as well.

So he told Blankenship they took the tack of regulating the process as a way to protect private landowners’ rights.

Since fracking on one farm could damage land or contaminate a well on a nearby farm, they argued the rules could protect individual property rights — which it would.

“And framed that way, everybody was all of a sudden, ‘Well absolutely! That should be everyone’s right,’” Demonbreun-Chapman told GPB.

Looking at the process in that light — and with a lot of help from local legislators — protections were enacted at the state level.

Court catastrophe

It’s been a tough couple of weeks at the courthouse.

The relatively newly rolled out eCourt system adopted in Floyd County as one of the state’s pilot programs — which had enough bumps in its road already — was shut down by a ransomware attack.

The clerks, who make sure the courts function day to day, will also bear the brunt of this attack one way or another. If the system comes back online, and that’s looking like a pretty solid IF at this point, they’re still going to have to go back and reenter all of the filings they’ve gotten while the system was down.

But even as the computer system is down the wheels of justice in Floyd County still grind on. Kudos to everyone who has made that happen despite the difficulties.

Not everybody is going to be happyChanges to the Downtown Saturday concert series are always going to make someone unhappy.

Hopefully the Downtown Development Authority can come up with the balance of making business owners happy as well as putting on a good show. The Spirit of the Sun races and festival appeared to bring out a fun-loving crowd but businesses reported they really didn’t see much of a bump from the festivities.

This year they’d moved the monthly concert series around to allow businesses the potential benefit of the crowds up and down the downtown area. It makes sense but they’re now talking about possibly keeping the festivals in one place.

One advantage of that idea is people don’t have to look up where they’re going to be. Many of the Cotton Block (100 block of Broad Street) businesses aren’t open during the festivities anyway.

Like the rest of you, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully they’ll find the sweet spot for the popular concert series.

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