Mon., March 25, 2013 4:06pm (EDT)

Border War Bill Heads To Governor
By Jeanne Bonner
Updated: 1 year ago

ATLANTA  —  
Georgia lawmakers have hatched a plan to resolve a 195-year border dispute with Tennessee. They say it’s not the first time they’ve tried to patch things up, but it might be the last before they take Tennessee to court.
Georgia lawmakers have hatched a plan to resolve a 195-year border dispute with Tennessee. They say it’s not the first time they’ve tried to patch things up, but it might be the last before they take Tennessee to court.
Georgia lawmakers have hatched a plan to resolve a 195-year border dispute with Tennessee. They say it’s not the first time they’ve tried to patch things up, but it might be the last before they take Tennessee to court.

Georgia’s northern border was meant to be established at the 35th parallel.

But Georgia lawmakers say because of a mistaken 1818 survey, the border is a mile away from there – and excludes the Tennessee River from Georgia’s property.

Now they think they’ve come up with a solution that would also fix the state’s nagging water crisis.

Under the plan, Georgia would give up 66 square miles but its border would move to the middle of the Tennessee River.

State Senator Charlie Bethel, a Dalton Republican, says Georgia won’t cede its claim to the land. And as he asked his colleagues to OK the plan on the Senate floor Monday, he had some fighting words for Tennessee.

“I ask that you favorably consider this resolution, and I urge my neighbors to consider carefully the consequences of failing to do so the next time they have the opportunity,” he said.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Tennessee lawmakers would have to sign off on the plan before it would head to Congress.

Sen. Jeff Mullis is a Chickamauga Republican, whose district borders Tennessee and Alabama. He was one of two Senators to vote against the resolution. He supports Georgia’s claim to water in the Tennessee River. But he says there is a better way to resolve the border dispute.

“Whenever two neighbors disagree, they should talk it out first and see if how they can compromise or come to some agreement. I think that would be better approach with Georgia and Tennessee instead of resolutions or threatening lawsuits. There needs to be a discussion.”

He added, "It would need to come between two governors."

The state House, Gov. Nathan Deal and Tennessee lawmakers would have to sign off on the plan before it would head to Congress.