Georgia's Attorney General is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a ruling that preserves a major source of drinking water. Friday's court filing is a response to an appeal by Alabama.
Alabama wants the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that found Georgia has the right to use Lake Lanier as the main water source for roughly three-million metro Atlanta residents.
Alabama and Florida are both suing for more access to the federal reservoir, arguing that when Georgia takes drinking water from Lanier, the lower water flow harms downstream communities.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says in this nearly two-decade-long water war, it’s time for negotiations, not more court battles.
“The issue really is how much water can be taken by metro Atlanta without harming those downstream. And we certainly agree that the Corps of Engineers needs to take that into account to be fair to all three states, as well as that part of our state downstream of Lake Lanier.”
Olens says he and Governor Nathan Deal have good relationships with the Governors and Attorneys General of Alabama and Florida.He believes they can work it out without further court action.
The US Supreme Court could decide as early as June whether to get involved, or the court may wait until Fall to decide whether to hear the case.