Everson to participate in rain prayer vigil

In the midst of a drought, Melvin Everson has been praying for rain. He's been crying out to the Lord when he mows his lawn and from the pulpit on Sundays.

But this week, Everson will pray for rain at the state Capitol.

The Republican House member from Snellville will emcee a public prayer vigil hosted by Gov. Sonny Perdue and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

"Sometimes we neglect to admit He's there and He's in charge of it," said Everson, a minister. "I feel it's important as an elected representative to show a united front as we deal with this drought. ... We need to pray for the Almighty to bring rain."

The vigil is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on the Capitol steps.

Linder testifies on water bill

Everson isn't Gwinnett's only representative making a plea because of the drought.

Last week, Congressman John Linder testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on his bill, H.R. 135, the "21st Century Water Commission Act of 2007."

"This is not to establish a national policy for use of water, but to get people around the same table to bring all of the knowledge we have about water to the same place to advise the Congress and the president," Linder said.

A commission, he said, could bring new ideas from across the country and the world to the same table. In his proposal, the water commission would focus on storage, water conservation and repairing the leaky pipes that contribute to water loss. Linder noted that Philadelphia alone loses 85 million gallons of water a day through leaky pipes.

"We need to increase the revolving loan fund under the Clean Water Act so that more states can fix their problems," he said. "In Atlanta, we're fixing a $3 billion problem with our sewage treatment. We ought to be able to borrow that money at low interest rates from the federal government under the Clean Water Act."

Instead of national water policy, Linder told committee members his intention is to establish policies and realities across the nation and then to bring that information to the president and Congress so they can then decide how to help improve the nation's water needs.

"This was started by looking at how we got our interstate highway system established. It was started in 1938 by FDR with a commission to bring all of the knowledge and engineers to the same table. In three years they came up with a proposal," Linder testified. "That proposal took 70 years to enact and get completed, but it got completed, and individual states controlled what went on in their states with their development. That is exactly how I see this happening."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.