Georgia Responds to Florida’s Water Lawsuit

If you think you’ve seen the above headline before, you probably have. In the latest installment of the 20 year long water wars, Florida sued Georgia last October, claiming they needed more water in Apalachicola Bay to grow oysters.

Georgia has now responded to that lawsuit.

According to the Gainesville Times, the 126 page response says Florida’s claim that Georgia draws too much water from Lake Lanier neglects the fact that 70% of that consumption is returned to the Chattahoochee. A similar claim that future water use will take even more water from the lake by 2040 fails to note that by then, Georgia will return around 78% of its water use to the river.

The response notes the Army Corps of Engineers is currently preparing a water control manual that will set water usage rights for Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

“In completing that process, the corps, exercising statutory authority delegated by Congress, will consider, among other things, effects on endangered and threatened species,” the response states.

“Florida, however, is not content to await the outcome of the corps’ deliberative process. Instead, it seeks to bypass that entire proceeding by asking this court to engage in a common-law ‘equitable apportionment’ of the states’ rights to those waters.”

In 2012, the Supreme Court refused to take up the Sunshine State’s appeal of a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court that overturned Judge Magnuson’s 2009 decision in District Court which would have greatly limited metro Atlanta’s access to water from Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River.

In related news, we note that yesterday was Groundhog Day.


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