Skip to comments.S.C. attorney general says N.C. water plan violates Constitution
Posted on 03/29/2007 7:38:39 AM PDT by 300magnum
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina will sue to block a plan to let two North Carolina towns take water from the Catawba River, Attorney General Henry McMaster said Wednesday. McMaster said the neighboring state should have consulted with South Carolina about the approved water transfer, which would permanently take water out of a river that supplies water for drinking, electricity, industry and recreation.
"Rivers affect people's lives more than anything else except the air we breathe," the attorney general said.
He said he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, which will argue North Carolina's approval process for water transfers violates the U.S. Constitution because one state's decision can't directly affect another state. McMaster hopes not only to stop this inter-basin transfer but wants future requests to involve input from communities downstream in South Carolina.
Too many inter-basin withdrawals can destroy a river, McMaster said.
"The mighty Colorado River that carved the Grand Canyon disappears as a river before reaching the Gulf of Mexico because of the abundance of withdrawals," he said.
McMaster hopes a decision by the nation's high court would cause North Carolina to enter into an interstate compact with South Carolina, which would require approval of both legislatures and Congress.
A spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said she could not comment on a lawsuit not yet filed.
In January, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission decided to allow Concord and Kannapolis, N.C., to transfer up to 10 million gallons of water daily from the river. The two cities were also allowed to take the same amount from the Yadkin River.
McMaster spoke Wednesday in support of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is appealing the decision on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper. The environmental group announced the appeal at a boat landing beside the Buster Boyd Bridge that connects North Carolina and South Carolina across Lake Wylie.
"Water is life to a river, and a river is life to our communities," said Donna Lisenby, executive director of the Charlotte, N.C.-based Catawba Riverkeeper.
A separate appeal was filed Monday by a coalition of eight cities and seven counties along the Catawba River, including York County, S.C., which has pledged up to $300,000 toward the case.
The appeals will likely be combined before an administrative law judge, said attorney Charles Case, who is representing the municipalities.
York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz said the withdrawal will have a "dramatic impact on the ability of our county to grow and its citizens to have adequate and clean water."
Annette Privette, spokeswoman for Concord and Kannapolis, said the cities, which provide water regionally, have an obligation to supply water to its residents and customers.
She said research has shown the transfer will take out less than 1 percent of all the water that flows in the Catawba River. She also called South Carolina officials hypocritical for arguing the need to conserve water while also encouraging growth.
She does not know when the North Carolina cities will start drawing the water. "It will be a gradual buildup over time as we need it," Privette said.
When communities have to argue about water, there are too many people in the community. They shouldn't have to worry about it. In California, there may be some big fights over water next year. The snow cap is only 38% of normal this year. If the state doesn't get large snow falls or heavy rains next year, it may be a big problem for the state. To many people in the state using up too many resources.
That's precious! I hope he didn't really say that.
Back to geography class for you! The Colorado drains into the Gulf of California.
I will ping the list, but I am the only one doing the NC pings now. Thanks!
Southern Colorado has been having water wars with Denver and surrounding suburbs for years.
The population up there is exploding, but there hasn't been enough water for years.
Well, the other side of Mexico. ;-)
Let's go ahead and throw in Rehab for good measure!
I looked at the Catawba last month when I was in SC. It was kind of filthy and scummy. It looked as though chemical plants are close to it. I would not allow my dog in it to fetch a stick.
What if we give it back to SC in the form of treated wastewater?
LOL...somebody needs to look at a map.
Gulf of California
You already do.
Careful there, Tarheel. Just because you are upstream from S.C., you are downstream from Tennesee and Virginia. What if Virginia or Tenn. started pumping out millions of gallons a day, would N.C. stand still for that?