An Intriguing Thought About That Pipeline To The Tennessee River

A Facebook friend of mine, Chris Smith (no relation…I think), posted this intriguing thought on my wall concerning a pipeline using the rail right-of-way that the State of Georgia owns that goes to downtown Chattanooga:


In all seriousness, the State of Georgia already has access to the Tennessee River (kind of).  I’m surprised no one has brought this up already.

The Western & Atlantic Railroad runs from Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The line is owned by the State of Georgia and leased to (now) CSX.  The lease is set to expire around 2019.

When the W&A terminated in downtown Chattanooga, Georgia owned a good deal of land where the tracks and railroad equipment terminated at or close to the river.  I’m not sure who owns it now, as the W&A/L&N was rerouted in the 1970’s (ish) out of downtown.

Georgia could put a modest sized pipe line along the railroad’s Tennessee right of way.  The track is currently single track, but can accomodate a double track.  While the railroad right of way may not extend all the way to the Tennessee River, it does get pretty darn close.  I’m sure the Georgia Legislature could find a way to extend the right of way to the river or find some other means to get to it.

If this information helps, please be sure to give credit where credit is due.

Chris, a Georgia escapee.

I had heard that Georgia had land that was in Chattanooga, but I thought they had transferred it to Tennessee back in the 1970s (perhaps someone can clarify).  A few discussions led to this article over on Patrick Milsaps’ blog (originally posted on Jim Galloway’s Political Insider blog) concerning a whitepaper from Brad Carver about how we could possibly resolve the water issue.  It was also pointed out that Georgia had access to the Nickajack Lake in Tennessee until 2000, but that ownership of the right-of-way of a railroad doesn’t necessarily mean we’d have riparian rights (yes, I had to look up what riparian meant).

One comment

  1. Cam says:

    Nathan – Thank you for talking about this. As you know, water is perhaps the most pressing issue facing Georgia over the next 20 years. We have land near the water but are not authorized to stick a pipe into it. I think the biggest issue is that Georgia is being denied access by the TVA who has stated that Georgia does not have riparian rights to the Tennessee River. The Tennessee legislature even passed a bill or resolution banning Georgia from any withdraw from the river. Once we work out a solution, the route of the pipeline will be relatively simple. The railroad line would be a great first place to start. Georgia has a great legal case should we have to go to the Supreme Court to settle it. In the mean time, HR 4 is the best settlement Tennessee could ever ask for. If they chose to fight this and we go to court, they will risk everything (30,000 residents, tax payers, and access to the river).

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