ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) The Georgia House and Senate has unanimously passed bills that would hold companies that release ethylene oxide into the air accountable.
It’s been a long, hard-fought battle, and although it’s not over yet, it is a major step in the right direction.
Under the proposed legislation, that is bipartisan by the way, companies like Sterigenics in Cobb County would be required to report all ETO leaks to the Georgia Environmental Protection Department within 24 hours. The GA EPD would then be required to publish that information on its website. And that's a big deal, because as it stands now, the only way residents are able to find out about dangerous ETO leaks is if they, or the media file open records requests and scour through pages and pages of documents.
Getting these bills passed in both chambers was not an easy task.
There were a number of different versions of the bills that were not nearly as strict but those versions were met with fierce opposition from the public, who flooded lawmakers with phone calls and emails demanding full transparency.
So what happens next?
Both bills (which are virtually the same) have to go to the other chamber for approval. Once vetted and voted upon, the bills will go to the governor to sign into law.
Look for more ETO legislation to follow in the next legislative session.