The Supreme Court recently joined the state of Georgia on a 2013 lawsuit filed by Florida.
Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court ruled a case filed in Florida in 2013 “about the distribution of water that flows between the two states.” The court sided with the state of Georgia in a 9-0 unanimous opinion from Judge Amy Coney Barrett. According to the court, “Florida has failed to prove its claims that Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee and Flint river systems caused the failure of Florida’s oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay.” Barrett continued:
“Florida allowed an unprecedented oyster harvest in the years before the collapse. The consumption had little or no impact on the oyster population in the bay.”
Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia, in 2019. Image via Wikimedia Commons, Credited As: U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Tori Miller. Public domain.
When the state of Florida filed the lawsuit, it argued that “increasing water consumption in the fast-growing Atlanta metro caused unacceptably low rivers where the Chattahoochee River on Lake Seminole flows into Florida.” During a hearing in February, attorneys representing Florida blamed “the water used by farmers in the Lower Flint River who irrigate their crops.”
When Governor Brian Kemp responded to the court’s decision, he said the decision was “a resounding victory for Georgia and a confirmation of the steps the state has taken to improve water-use efficiency.” He added:
“Our state will continue to carefully manage water resources and prioritize protection while protecting the Georgian economy and access to water.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr also stepped in, saying:
“The Supreme Court… has confirmed what we have long recognized to be true: Georgia’s water use was fair and sensible… We will continue to be good stewards of our water resources and we are proud to have received a positive resolution this year. long quarrel on behalf of all Georgians. “
When the lawsuit was originally filed, Florida was hoping the court would “limit water use in Georgia.” Georgian lawyers pushed back, however, saying a cap would “stall the growth of Metro Atlanta – and thus the region’s economy – and devastate the farm belt in southwest Georgia.”
The latest ruling, however, does not put an end to the Georgia, Florida, and Alabama water wars. The so-called water wars have been going on for about three decades and show no signs of slowing down. Indeed, Alabama is in the process of questioning an agreement: “Georgia and the US Army Corps of Engineers signed in January approving Lake Lanier for the first time as a water supply.”
Georgia Has Precedence Over Florida In “Water Wars” Lawsuit
Supreme Court gives Georgia victory in Florida water war