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No Surprises Here

January 27, 2011

As noted in our last post, the outcome of yesterday’s Georgia DNR Board meeting was not too hard to guess by the time the meeting date rolled around. As expected, the board approved new rules for permitting interbasin transfers (IBTs) of water – which are good to have on the books, except for the fact that as written, there’s not much force behind the rules. The new language states that the Environmental Protection Division should assess a set of key criteria when it comes to IBTs, but not that it must do so.

The news, actually, is that there’s been a lot of news on yesterday’s board decision, with original stories showing up in many of the state’s major papers and an AP story running several places inside and outside of Georgia. The Augusta Chronicle has what appears to be the most complete version of that wire story, which suggests that state leaders would like to cast the IBT rulemaking as helpful to tri-state water war negotiations. The same sell is there on Gov. Deal’s new reservoir plan, and both of these angles strike the Water Wire as odd. Properly managing IBTs and prudently assessing any new reservoir plans (especially in the ACT and ACF basins) would seem to go farther at the negotiating table.

Along those two lines, though, the AJC’s story is a highlight of today’s widespread coverage. It implies specific linkages between the IBT issue and reservoir plans, noting that many new reservoir plans around the state could involve interbasin transfers. That means that the import of any IBT policy-making could be felt on the ground quite soon, if some of these reservoir projects move forward.

Lastly, GPB TV’s Prime Time Lawmakers show reportedly will cover state water issues tonight at 7, so tune in there if you haven’t had your fix of GA water news.

-Ben Emanuel

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