River Steward Award: Riverkeeper recognizes Newnan's Warren Budd

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Gordon Rogers, left, presents the River Steward Award to Coweta County businessman Warren Budd at the recent Chattahoochee Riverkeeper awards dinner. (Photo by Ben Rose)

By W. WINSTON SKINNER
winston@newnan.com
Newnan resident Warren Budd has been recognized by the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for his work on the river’s behalf.
Budd was named the River Steward Award by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper at the organization’s 18th annual Patron Dinner, held on Sept. 13.
“It was really special,” Budd said of the event at The Foundry in Atlanta. “My family came in for it.”
Budd, a Newnan insurance agent, spent seven years on the Georgia Board of Natural Resources until he began asking questions about the feasibility of state reservoir projects – and about a fish kill in the Ogeechee River.
“All during my board membership, I tried to support the average guy out there who likes to go to the state park, who likes to hunt and fish,” Budd said last week.
Budd also said he was a voice for conservation, if a pragmatic one. “We have to have economic development, but you don’t have to rape the environment to do it,” he said. “We can have both.”
“Warren prays and works constantly for his commitments, using God-given wisdom every step of the way,” said Gordon Rogers of Flint Riverkeeper in his award presentation to Budd. “The result? Skillful use of his mental and spiritual energy, and his political capital.”
Rogers described Budd as “a force for progress in Georgia, giving voice to Georgia’s rivers and backing up talk with action.”

Each year, Chattahochee Riverkeeper recognizes individuals, organizations and companies that have made a real difference in the collective efforts to protect the Chattahoochee River. The organization raised a record $235,000 and welcomed 450 guests for the recent awards event.

Media entrepreneur Bert Ellis received the River Guardian Award for providing critical communications strategies for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s river protection programs. TOTO USA, the world’s largest plumbing manufacturer, received the organization’s River Sustainability Award, while April Ingle, of the Georgia River Network, received the River Advocate Award.

The group’s mission is to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee River, its lakes and tributaries for the people, fish and wildlife that depend upon it. The Chattahoochee is the most heavily used water resource in Georgia, according to Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.

Last year, the organization gave posthumous recognition to former Newnan Mayor C.B. “Gandy” Glover for his passionate support for the river, which forms Coweta County’s northwest boundary.

Budd served on the DNR board for seven years. He left the board in December after Gov. Nathan Deal appointed someone else to his seat.

At the time, Budd said he felt he was being dropped from the board because of his strong opposition to reservoir projects and his push for aggressive action against a company responsible for a fish kill in the Ogeechee.

“I was told to hush up on both of them,” Budd said in December. “One was subtle, and one wasn’t. ... I was warned and I didn’t do it, and that is why I’m off.”

Budd said he felt the 18-member board was being “slammed with one point of view” – noting two other pro-conservation board members, Earl Barrs and Bill Archer, were also not reappointed.

The board is made up of one representative from each congressional district, as well as one representative for the Georgia coast and four at-large members. All board members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

“The mission of the board is to protect our natural resources,” Budd said. “That is what it is supposed to do.”



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