published Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Region digest

ATLANTA

Deal approves reservoir loans

Gov. Nathan Deal has approved recommendations for low-interest loans that would be used to plan and build new reservoirs to increase Georgia's water supply.

Deal said on Wednesday the Georgia Water Supply Task Force's plan would help ensure the state has an "adequate and sustainable water supply for the future."

The program would use $300 million to expand Georgia's water supply by building multimillion-dollar reservoirs, reopening inactive wells or drilling new wells. It encourages the state to offer loans to municipalities to pay for such projects.

It's part of an effort by Georgia to expand its water supply amid an ongoing fight with Alabama and Florida over resources.

Lake Lanier, which supplies metro Atlanta with water, long has been the target of lawsuits from neighboring states over water policy.

'Super speeder' law nets millions

Authorities say more than 116,000 citations totaling about $25 million have been issued since Georgia's so-called "super speeder" law went into effect in July 2009.

WXIA-TV reported that thousands of drivers have failed to pay the fines.

Statistics gathered by the Atlanta television station show that only 67 percent have paid in full, meaning the state still is trying to collect about $10.2 million of the $25 million in citations.

Under the law, drivers caught going 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit can be fined an extra $200.

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

Governor orders energy use cuts

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has ordered state agencies to reduce energy use by fiscal year 2015.

The governor issued an executive order Wednesday that said all state departments and agencies must reduce energy consumption 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2015.

Bentley's order said each department and agency must designate an energy officer to study and recommend ways to use less energy.

Bentley estimated the energy reductions would save state government $5.4 million in the cost of utilities by 2015.

The governor said he believes conserving energy is a way to make state government operate more efficiently.

State agencies are required to use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Portfolio Manager to measure and report energy savings.

CLEVELAND, Tenn.

Checkpoints coming up

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office will conduct safety checkpoints at undisclosed county locations Friday and Saturday in conjunction with Operation Lifesaver, according to a news release.

-- Staff and Wire Reports

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