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Friday, August 21, 2009 - 4:12am

Georgia's Lead Water Negotiator Hopeful

Georgia’s chief negotiator in water talks says he is “guardedly optimistic” that a deal with Alabama can be struck by the end of this year. Michael Garrett says he hopes the two states can get a deal done so Georgia can turn its focus on the resolution of another water tussle with Florida over the Chattahoochee River.

Garrett is the president of Georgia Power, and was tapped by Governor Sonny Perdue recently to head a coalition of officials involved in water talks. Georgia, Florida, and Alabama have been tied-up in legal battles over water for nearly two decades.

Meanwhile, Alabama Governor Bob Riley says he has no plans to meet with Governor Sonny Perdue and Florida’s Charlie Crist this weekend in Williamsburg,Virginia over water issues. The three will join other southern governors at the Southern Governor’s Association gathering. Riley has been tapped as new chairman for the group.