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Lake Lanier Ruling Now on Appeal Track

January 22, 2010

A panel of federal judges from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that Georgia can appeal Judge Paul Magnuson’s July 2009 Lake Lanier ruling, according to news from Athens and Gainesville.  The state’s well-paid water litigators can chalk this recent development up as a second big win to add to their resumes.  In the first, tri-state water war lawyers somehow convinced Magnuson to allow the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river compact negotiations to continue in secret much to the dismay of many stakeholders.

Even if the appeal somehow legitimizes Georgia’s legal right to tap Lake Lanier, it’s important to remember that what’s good for metro Atlanta’s water supply is not necessarily good for all of Lake Lanier’s or the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin’s stakeholders.  We should bear in mind one of Governor Sonny Perdue’s Water Contingency Task Force’s recommendations.  In their final report, the Task Force declared that the state should peruse “a set of ‘no regret’ conservation options which should be implemented immediately, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the Lake Lanier ruling.”  Lake Lanier’s fate is important, but even the Guv’s technical and policy experts agree that water efficiency and conservation will still go a long way to keeping more water in the basin for everybody.

-Chris Manganiello

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