Georgia Governor: Columbus is big part of waters wars strategy - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Georgia Governor: Columbus is big part of waters wars strategy

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  "This is a Georgia issue- the Middle Chattahoochee, Columbus, LaGrange, all those towns here. I want to ensure they're going to be treated fairly."

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue says he wants to clear up a misconception about the war on water rights between Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

"The perception is- everything is geared toward Atlanta and there's more to Georgia than just Atlanta. We live in Columbus and we have to protect our interests," said Representative Richard Smith (R) Columbus.

The Governor says his plan for ensuring Georgia's rights to Lake Lanier's supply does just that- he says he will not sell out our region for the sake of Metro Atlanta's water supply or any other part of the state.

He is trying to appeal a U.S. District Court Judge's ruling that Georgia can't continue to draw water out of the federal reservoir, run by the Army Corps of Engineers, without approval by Congress.

"Judge Magnuson ruled this- that Congress has to make its mind up over the usage of these federal reservoirs whether the Corps has the authority to manage them through rules and statutory changes at every change. I can't imagine that Congress would want to be involved every time there's a management change in these federal reservoirs," Governor Perdue added.

But one thing he thinks Congress should be hands on with is authorizing use of the federal reservoir to include drinking water.

He wants local legislators to keep the issue alive in delegation.

They see a long road ahead in courts and in Congress.

"The courts I think, is going to be an uphill battle because after all, the judge has made his ruling and trying to appeal that- we've already spent six million dollars in legal fees. I think now is a good time for the governors to sit down and have a clear discussion on the issues and go to Congress for reauthorization," said Calvin Smyre (D) Columbus.

Governor Perdue says water allocation should be decided between the states and adds he's waiting to hear back from Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Florida Governor Charlie Crist on when they can meet to negotiate.

However, our sister station WSFA in Montgomery reports Alabama Governor Riley has responded to the invite, saying he'll be happy to attend.

Perdue's next stop is Albany where he'll host a similar town hall meeting Thursday.


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