Isakson strikes back at Shelby in Georgia-Alabama Water Wars

| September 29, 2015

Johnny-Isakson-Chamber

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate moved a bill Monday to fund the government for the next two-and-a-half months, and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., was particularly excited about something that was not in it: Language to tip the balance in the never-ending “water wars” among Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

This spring, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., secured language in an appropriations bill that would have blocked the Army Corps of Engineers from reallocating water in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa basin until the governors of Alabama and Georgia work out an agreement. This matters because most court decisions over the years have tilted in Georgia’s direction the battle over how much water metro Atlanta can draw from rivers and reservoirs, and the corps is updating its water plans accordingly.

Gov. Nathan Deal met with his Alabama and Florida counterparts on the issue this year, but there is little evidence that an amicable agreement is nigh, particularly as Georgia and Florida are locked in costly litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court over water flows.

Georgia does not want Congress to weigh in at all on the water wars, and Isakson said he’s been working to eliminate Shelby’s “egregious language.” The House version of the energy and water appropriations bill does not have the language.

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