Skip to comments.Florida wins the water war against Georgia.
Posted on 06/27/2018 7:47:25 AM PDT by Dacula
Florida has made a legally sufficient showing as to the possibility of fashioning an effective remedial decree equitably apportioning the water from an interstate river basin.
Here is the decision and case
THOMAS, J., dissenting
any good. All would still suffer the same harms during the summers of drought years when flows remain fixed at 5,000 cubic feet per second because of the Corps operations.
If we contrast the de minimus benefits that Florida might receive from small amounts of additional waterduring nondroughts with the massive harms that Georgia would suffer if this Court cut its water use in half duringdroughts, it is clear who should prevail in this case. Floridas expert estimated that a cap on Georgia would have an[i]ncremental [f]iscal [c]ost of $35.2 million per year.Sunding 44. This figure included only additional costs that would require the [Georgia] legislature . . . to appropriate money. 11 Trial Tr. 2791. The real cost of such a cap,which includes nongovernmental costs like welfare losses, would range anywhere from $191 million, id., at 2787; Stavins 31, to more than $2 billion per year, id., at 2. And the cap would trigger resulting losses in Georgias gross regional product and employment, totaling around $322million and 4,173 jobs annually. Id., at 40. Regardless ofthe measure used, this harm dwarfs the value of Floridas entire fishing industry in Apalachicola Bay, which pro- duces annual revenues of $11.7 million. Id., at 16. And it greatly outweighs the value of the additional oysters that a cap on Georgias use might producei.e., no more than a few hundred thousand dollars. Id., at 52. Imposing anenormously high cost on one State so that another State can achieve a hollow victory is not the high equity that moves the conscience of the court in giving judgment between states. Washington, 297 U. S., at 523.
* * * In the final analysis, Florida has not shown that it will appreciably benefit from a cap on Georgias water use.Absent such a showing, the balance of harms cannot tip in Floridas favor. Accordingly, I would have overruled Flor
Explication for non lawyers?
Of course, Justice Thomas is from Georgia, he has a Bulldog in this fight.
This is really about California taking water from Oregon to meet it’s needs. This was a test case. Not that Florida doesn’t have a problem in sucking all the water out of its own aquifers and collapsing itself, but the hugh and series issue is southern California.
Issue: Whether Florida is entitled to equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and appropriate injunctive relief against Georgia to sustain an adequate flow of fresh water into the Apalachicola Region. CVSG: 09/18/2014.
Judgment: Case remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on June 27, 2018. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Alito, Kagan and Gorsuch joined.
Odd mix of judges?
No more hoochie coochie on the Chattahoochee................
Not over yet. Back to the Master for additional work.
I believe you are correct. So this thing drags on and on yet again.
Translation: It will be years before anything is decided in this case...
Great so now we will have the corps draining Lake Lanier down again til the docks are in the mud and Atlanta is 90 days from running out of water.
“I believe you are correct. So this thing drags on and on yet again.”
Yes, the SCOTUS is like an untrained person picking at the scab on an injured party! We need nine Trump’s on the SCOTUS, people who will actually work for a living.
1. There isn’t enough water to support the growth of the Atlanta metro region *AND* keep the fishing industry of FL intact.
2. Even without FL getting the water, the ATL metro just can’t keep sucking in more and more fresh water.
3. You can do the math on the watershed that supplies the region versus the anticipated growth in water demand and the lines cross *IF* nothing happens.
4. The FEDS and the Atlanta regional planning commission have to fix this, eventually. Sooner is better.
5. I live on Lake Lanier, the primary reservoir for Atlanta and the surrounding metros. This is near and dear to me/us.
Appalachia olga has good scallops
This is not about water rights. It is about having enough flow in the river for “endangered” sturgeon (fish) to mate. They need adequate velocity in the river or they will not reproduce. This is what extreme environmentalism is about.
Being an environmental engineer, I look for solutions. I have always suggested that we put some pumps downstream of the spawning area and recirculate flow just upstream. Then the velocity will always stay above what the sturgeon need.
This court decision could cripple the Atlanta metro area, which has no other water supply than the Chattahoochee River. We’ll be back to the crisis of 2009, when the Army Corps dictated that only the original population of northern Georgia when the reservoir (Lake Lanier) was built (1964) could withdraw water from the river. That was overturned by a judge in 2012.
I always thought Florida had more water than it knew what to do with.
FYI, the Lake Lanier watershed is SMALLER than Alatoona and Hartwell.
ATL *has* to plan to use LESS water.
Florida has waged a long and expensive legal battle against Georgia’s growing consumption of river water, which ultimately deprives the oyster beds and other downstream fisheries of the Apalachicola River estuary in the Florida panhandle. Unusually, since the case is between two states, the US Supreme Court has original jurisdiction. Thus the court appointed a special master to hear the case. Florida lost the decision by the special master. On review, the Supreme Court directed that the special master had to revisit some legal and factual issues. Florida get a partial victory, but it seems unlikely to get much if any relief in the end.
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