The United States Supreme Court declined to review a crucial ruling in the dispute between Alabama, Florida and the great state of Georgia in what is known as the “water wars.”
The Supreme Court’s choice not to intervene means Lake Lanier may be legally used as a water supply source for Georgia, including Atlanta.
Those opposed to allowing drinking water from Lake Lanier for the fine people of North Georgia, including those in Atlanta, argued that wildlife and industries downstream would suffer if we used water from our own – to use a journalistic term – “dang” reservoir through our own dang Buford Dam.
The enormity of this decision to let stand a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit will impact Georgians for decades to come, unless a future battle overturns this victory.
One year ago, the appeals court overturned a ruling made in 2009 by Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson. Judge Magnuson had determined it was illegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow water to be drawn from Lake Lanier to provide water for metro Atlanta residents.
Following today news, Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens released this statement:
“It is my hope that we can finally put this decades-long legal dispute to rest and work together with our sister states — in meeting rooms, not courtrooms — to develop a fair and equitable water sharing plan and promote a strong and vibrant Southeastern region.”
Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal released this statement:
“By denying a hearing of the decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the tri-state water case, the nation’s highest court has affirmed that drinking water was always an authorized use of Lake Lanier. We can now move forward with this issue behind us, have the governors work together and come to a long-term agreement that will provide for the water needs of all three states.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must now devise a water allocation plan for Lake Lanier.
Could this be the end of the water wars? Time will tell.