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Water Politics: The Ox on IBTs

January 23, 2010

Georgia gubernatorial hopeful John Oxendine – who did not participate in the January 19th debate with fellow Republican candidates at the University of Georgia – has laid out his campaign water plank in a January 21st Chattanooga Times Free Press news story.

As Governor, Oxendine would build more reservoirs in north Georgia, and he would seek negotiations with Tennessee’s Governor to discuss a potential Tennessee River interbasin transfer (IBT).  If Georgia and Tennessee could not reach an agreement on the states’ contested border issue and a water transfer, the Ox stated, he would “simply go to the Supreme Court, lay out the facts and let them put it to bed one way or the other.”  In other words, since the first tri-state water war and litigation has not lingered long enough for Georgians, why not start another costly and environmentally dangerous quest to grab the Tennessee’s water to solve Georgia’s water woes?

Oxendine’s stance on a potential Tennessee River IBT brings up an interesting question in need of clarification: When all six GOP candidates declared their opposition to IBTs during the January debate in Athens, were they talking about interstate, intrastate, or all IBTs?  Furthermore, how would all remaining candidates respond on the same issues?

-Chris Manganiello

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