Friday, August 14, 2009

Water Ruling Won't Hurt Business Recruitment, Leaders Say

David Beasley Atlanta - 07.28.09

Three of Georgia's top economic development leaders insisted Tuesday that metro Atlanta’s efforts to recruit new businesses won’t be hurt by a federal judge’s recent ruling that could severely cut the amount of water the region draws from Lake Lanier.

“This is a very adaptable region and state that constantly reinvents itself,” Sam Williams, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, said at a news conference held to provide a mid-year update on efforts to attract new businesses to Georgia.

A federal judge, Paul Magnuson, ruled July 17 that Lake Lanier’s major purpose as originally authorized by Congress was navigation, hydro power and flood control, not drinking water for metro Atlanta. Unless Congress acts within three years, metro Atlanta must drastically reduce the amount of water it takes out of Lanier, the judge ruled. Georgia is appealing the ruling while also seeking Congressional action.

Metro Atlanta has many options to resolve the water controversy, including increased conservation and constructing additional reservoirs, Mr. Williams said.

“We’ve been in a water confrontation for 20 years,” Mr. Williams said of the lengthy court fight with Florida and Alabama over the use of water in Lake Lanier, a federally constructed reservoir that captures water from the Chattahoochee River and is metro Atlanta’s main water source. More here.

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