A state Senate panel Wednesday approved a plan to resolve a 195-year border dispute with Tennessee. Under the plan, Georgia would cede most of the disputed land, but would gain access to the Tennessee River.
In 1818, surveyors were meant to draw the northern border of Georgia at the 35th parallel.
But Georgia lawmakers have long said that the surveyors mistakenly placed the border a mile away.
Now they’ve hatched a plan that would solve two problems at once: the border dispute and the state’s lack of water
Georgia has tried nine times to solve the dispute. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Harry Geisinger, says this time it’s an offer Tennessee can’t refuse.
“We’re going to say, ‘Ok Tennessee, we will give you 66.5 square miles and take approximately 1.5 square miles and put the mark where it belongs at the 35th parallel north',” he told the Senate Judiciary committee Wednesday afternoon.
That would move the border to the middle of the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake.
Brad Carver, an Atlanta attorney who helped draw up the plan, says Georgia has a good claim to the river.
“The state of Georgia contributes 1.7 billion gallons of water to the Tennessee River every day," he said in an interview before testifying at the committee meeting. "So all this talk about us wanting to steal Tennessee’s water is just factually incorrect. What we’re just trying to do is get a share of our own water.”
The House has already OK’d the plan. The resolution now heads to the full Senate for a vote. Tennessee lawmakers and Congress would need to sign off on the plan before it became law.