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Friday, August 14, 2009 - 3:29am

Alabama Governor Reverses Opposition to Southern Company

Alabama Governor Bob Riley says he's comfortable with Georgia Power aiding the state of Georgia in upcoming water negotiations.

Riley reversed his position after speaking with the head of Georgia Power's corporate parent, Southern Company.

Governor Riley first said he was uneasy with having the head of Georgia Power take the lead role on behalf of Georgia in water negotiations. He also indicated it could be a barrier to talks between Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

But later Riley reversed his position, explaining he had assurances from David Ratcliffe, the Southern Company's CEO.

"As long as Georgia Power can represent their interests in the state of Georgia, and Alabama Power is fully unconstrained to represent their interests in the state of Alabama, then I really don't see a problem," Riley said in an interview with Alabama Public Radio.

"If Georgia Power, and as a result, Southern Company, activated their lobbying apparatus, which we have been assured by David Ratcliffe that that will not happen, that would have been a concern to Alabama and Florida."

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue's office told GPB that dates for water negotiations between the three states could be announced as soon as Friday.

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