High court asked to settle Georgia-Florida water warby John Kennedy | October 1st, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi said Tuesday they have filed suit with the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to resolve Florida’s water war with Georgia.
Justices are being asked to take up the rare state versus state case that is the culmination of two decades of regulatory and lower court wrangling over Georgia’s water consumption in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basins. A recent court ruling involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers favored Georgia’s side in the clash, sending Scott looking to the U.S. Supreme Court for the next round of action.
“Georgia has refused to fairly share the waters that flow between our two states, so to stop Georgia’s unmitigated consumption of water we have brought the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court. Georgia’s over-consumption of water threatens the existence of Apalachicola Bay and the future economic development of the region,” Scott said.
Georgia’s water consumption, driven mostly by demands in the Atlanta area, have reduced fresh water flow into Florida’s Apalachicola Bay, dramatically reducing the region’s important oyster harvest.
Historically low water levels stemming from Georgia’s consumption have caused oysters to die because of higher salinity in the bay and increased disease and predator intrusion. Oysters in the Bay account for 90 percent of Florida’s oyster supply and 10 percent of the nation’s oyster supply, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Scott’s fellow Republican, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, last month called Florida’s plan to bring the case to the nation’s highest court a “frivolous waste of time and money.” Deal said Georgia has taken strides in the past year to conserve water and hinted that Scott’s move was aimed at appealing to voters in next year’s elections.