Supreme Court won’t hear Georgia water appeal
Atlanta Business Chronicle - by Dave Williams Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear Georgia’s appeal of a lower court ruling in the long-running tri-state water wars.
The high court denied a request to review a decision handed down nearly a year ago by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington invalidating a 2003 agreement to let metro Atlanta water utilities increase withdrawals from Lake Lanier from about 13 percent of the lake’s capacity to about 22 percent.
The agreement between Georgia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was challenged by the states of Florida and Alabama, which lie downstream of Lanier in the Chattahoochee River system.
In a prepared statement, Gov. Sonny Perdue said he was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s position not to take up the case. But the governor also noted that the decision “simply maintains the status quo” in the Corps’ operation of the federal reservoir.
“We felt strongly that Supreme Court review of this case could have resolved a major piece of our ongoing water negotiations,” Perdue said. “We will now move forward continuing to work with our neighbors and other stakeholders to reach consensus on a plan that fairly shares our limited … river basin.”
In opposing Georgia’s efforts to take more water out of Lake Lanier to meet rapidly growing customer demand in metro Atlanta, Florida and Alabama argued that the reservoir was built in the 1950s primarily to provide hydropower and that water supply was not its authorized purpose.