Friday, July 17th, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson issued a ruling in the ongoing litigation between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The ruling states that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should have sought Congressional approval before allowing water from Lake Lanier to be reallocated for use by Metro Atlanta.
As part of the decision, Judge Magnuson has suspended the current phase of the litigation, instructing the three States to go to Congress for approval of withdrawals. The decision dictates that a Congressional decision must be reached within three years. If no Congressional approval has been achieved by the end of the three years, Judge Magnuson’s order will take effect.
The practical result of that order taking effect would be that the operation of Buford Dam would return to its baseline operation from the 1970s. If this occurs, only the cities of Buford and Gainesville would be authorized to withdraw water from the Lake.
On Tuesday, July 21st, Georgia’s Congressional delegation met in Washington D.C. to discuss how to best present a unified front on the issue within Congress. Additionally, Governor Perdue held a meeting on Thursday, July 23rd with over 130 business and political leaders to discuss how the State will approach the issue. Governor Perdue appointed Georgia Power President & CEO Mike Garrett to serve as the “quarterback” of the team.
The Council for Quality Growth has continued to be actively engaged in water supply issues. We have assembled a group of industry professionals who are working to develop long-term water supply solutions and will be involved in working to address the consequences of this ruling.