Perdue wants Florida, Alabama back at water negotiations

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Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Thursday he sent a letter to the governors of Alabama (Bob Riley) and Florida (Charlie Crist) to join him in resuming water negotiations.

Perdue offered to hold a meeting in Atlanta or “another mutually agreed-upon location” and listed 40 possible meeting dates between August 12 and November 5.

The letter leads with this:

Water issues have dominated the headlines in recent days, and I have read statements from both of you that indicate your willingness to resume water negotiations. [U.S. District Court] Judge [Paul] Magnuson’s insistence on a Congressional solution was specifically related to authority for Lanier and did not address the allocation of water in the basins between the three states.  I have always believed that a negotiated settlement that protects the rights and resources of all three states is the most lasting solution.

On July 17, Magnuson handed down a 97-page ruling that stated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been illegally rerouting water from Lake Lanier, a man-made lake north of Atlanta, to meet the drinking water needs of Metro Atlanta because it never obtained congressional approval to do so.

Alabama sued the Corps, which manages Lake Lanier and the Buford Dam, in 1990 to keep Metro Atlanta from drawing more water from the lake.

Magnuson ruled if a political solution cannot be reached between the three states and Congress within three years, then Metro Atlanta will no longer be able to use Lake Lanier as its primary source of drinking water.

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