Gov. Nathan Deal is moving forward with Georgia’s defense of its use of Lake Lanier as a drinking source for metro Atlanta after Florida files suit in the U.S. Supreme Court.
He has appointed special attorneys general to defend the state including former Solicitor General of the United States Seth Waxman who served during the Clinton administration.
WSB legal analyst Ron Carlson tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish the team will be knowledgeable in Supreme Court practice as well as water law, but will likely come at a high cost.
“The water supply is the lifeblood of urban areas including Atlanta and that’s why it’s worth the effort to put up a very first class defense,” he says.
Carlson says Georgia will have a strong precedent after the Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last year that ruled Georgia did have a right to access drinking water from Lanier.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott filed suit in August saying his state’s oyster industry has been decimated by a reduction in flow from the Chattahoochee River.
He blames Georgia for failing to reach a resolution after two decades of negotiations with both Florida and Alabama which also shares the water. Deal says he has proposed a solution and blames Scott for not responding.
In a statement, Deal called on Florida to dismiss the lawsuit and return to the negotiating table.
“It is time for Florida to stop playing politics and start negotiating in good faith,” he says.