Updated: Alabama gov. says Perdue claim ‘disingenuous’

Updated throughout at 11:24 a.m.

In an interview with WABE radio on Thursday, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said that any claim that Alabama walked away from a water deal with Georgia in 2007 is “somewhat disingenuous.”

Go here to listen to part one of Riley’s interview with WABE’s Denis O’Hayer. Part two of the interview will air this afternoon on 90.1 FM during “All Things Considered.”

Riley’s comments came a day after Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the two states were hours away from signing a deal in 2007 to solve a major part of the nearly two-decades old water wars involving Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

“If I stand up and say I’m willing to negotiate, but I never can make it and I don’t come, what does that say?” Perdue said Wednesday. Alabama “very clearly favored a litigation strategy rather than a negotiating strategy.”

But in his interview with WABE, Riley refused to take the blame for the 2007 deal falling apart and said Georgia hasn’t always played fair, either.

“We also thought we had an agreement back in 2003, 2004,” he said. “Then we found out Georgia had this secret agreement with the Corps of Engineers that fell apart then. For someone to say we walked away is being somewhat disingenuous.”

Since 2007, Riley said, the two states have had six or seven “major meetings.” He said a confidentiality agreement prevents him from divulging what was said in those meetings or why the 2007 deal fell apart.

It is true that there have been meetings since 2007, Perdue communications director Bert Brantley said Friday morning. But, I don’t know it was ever as close as scouting locations” to sign a deal, Brantley said, which is what happened in 2007.

As for that “secret” agreement with the Corps, Brantley said those were water supply contracts, which were hardly secret. They are the same contracts Alabama sued to overturn.

Riley, as he said Wednesday to the AJC’s Bob Keefe in Washington, Riley told O’Hayer that he and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist remained committed to negotiating in good faith with Perdue and that he is confident a meeting can be arranged soon.

Perdue on Thursday sent a letter to Riley and Crist inviting them to meet in Atlanta or elsewhere, and offered up 40 different possible dates.

“We will get together over the next few weeks and I hope we can put something together,” Riley said on WABE on Thursday. “And I hope it can be productive and I hope we can be successful.”

In a statement to the AJC on Friday, Riley reiterated that.

“I am very pleased that Governor Perdue has extended this invitation,” Riley said. “I gladly accept it and I look forward to scheduling a meeting as soon as possible.”

14 comments Add your comment


July 31st, 2009
10:48 am

It’s funny to see Perdue squirm. Georgia is getting spanked bad.

Peter Quinn

July 31st, 2009
11:00 am

Hi. I am a long time reader. I wanted to say that I like your blog and the layout.

Peter Quinn


July 31st, 2009
11:59 am

Guess it’s time to re-examine the GA-TN border dispute….

Saul Good

July 31st, 2009
12:05 pm

Sonny and all the rest of his flock in this red run state never gave two craps about actually meeting because they always felt that the law would fall on their side, or that it would NEVER be “forced” to be remedied. The fact is that the judge was right. Lanier was NOT intended to be used primarily as a water supply for Atlanta. The did too little too late with regards to conservation, and still to this day, they should be banning all outdoor watering except for growing “food” (and putting one tomato plant in the middle of your lawn just makes to a talibangelcal “birther” who thinks there’s no need to do anything good for the planet because soon your “rapture” is coming).

Ban all outdoor watering and move away from “lawns” in general. Nothing is a bigger waste when it comes to our water supply then that. All bans should include wells because it’s the SAME water supply that is in our rivers and streams. The underground aquifers have their own limits as well.

Many places out West with limited water supplies have given rebates over the years for people to remove their lawns and put in native plantings that can thrive during a drought, as well as rock gardens, mulch, etc….

Sonny F&cked this up during his reign. There’s really no surprise that he did. He and the other “birthers” in all levels of GA government care not about our environment. Lawn companies and nurseries are more important compared to having more water available for drinking and bathing… but know what? If they had ANY BRAINS at all… they’d realize that nurseries can make MORE money by installing native gardens. it would be monetarily lucrative for nursery owners that have at least a “partial” brain inside of their heads…and we all know that businesses run this state… people’s rights come behind corporate rights in GA. SO… this would be PROFITABLE and INCREASE tax revenue… but we’re living in the land of “DUH” when it comes to being able to come up with solutions. All the politicians do here is fail over and over and over again.

Saul Good

July 31st, 2009
12:07 pm

There’s good ol’ Bubba for ya…. it’s never about making a change and doing something to “reduce” consumption and waste… it’s about “taking” as much as we can. Because we ALL know that there is an endless supply of water somewhere else if we need it. More “duh”…


July 31st, 2009
12:19 pm

We pump water out of the ground everyday to irrigate crops. Why not build a water pipeline to Atlanta and pump from southern ga. to the areas up north. We can charge a healthy price too. You know the good paying jobs are there so they can afford it.

Of course, putting 8 million people in a 15 sq mile area is what man was intended to do.

professional skeptic

July 31st, 2009
12:51 pm

Even among their own, Republicans’ mentality is “I got mine, so screw you.” This isn’t going to go anywhere fast.


July 31st, 2009
12:54 pm

I’m sure that the biggest issue now facing Sonny is for Georgia to somehow get a waiver to allow continued outdoor water usage from Lanier, even if human use gets nixed in three years. The Gov’s phone must be ringing off the hook with calls from his SOD, turf and nursery buddies. Priorities you know.

factually based

July 31st, 2009
1:34 pm

Saul, Saul, Saul: take a chill pill and check your facts. This is not about Sonny and the state; its about the metro politicians of all adminsistrations (but primarily Democratic)who continually failed to plan in a comprehensive manner and allowed their metro superiority egos to get in the way. Wells don’t play a role in this–Atlanta sits on the Flint aquifer which is a water source for our friends due south, not for the Chattahoochee–any 1st year engineering student could tell you that. The biggest waste of water in the metro area is not lawns or landscaping; the reports and metrics are clear on that–its the unbridled use of septic instead of sewer–just ask ARC or other KNOWLEDGEABLE agencies. If we had mandatory use of sewer, rather than septic as we do today, millions of gallons could be recovered and returned to the Chattahoochee basin rather than going to the Flint aquifer. But the locals, not the state, have allowed that to go on. Now, let too many wells get sunk and the Flint will suffer as well, so both Metro Atlanta and the region to the south will feel water shortfalls. It’s really simple–too much growth without requisite infrastructure planning because the metro area is too arrogant to work with the rest of the state (”we desreve special consideration because we’re Atlanta, we’re special, we know better…”–so we have the highest tax rates, the highest per capita school district spend per student (w/out equivalent performance), ongoing rampant crime and divisive politics–sure, we know better).


July 31st, 2009
1:46 pm

You are kidding yourself if you think the Fed’s will shut down Atlanta’s water supply. Atlanta is the business capital of the Southeast, always has been and always will be. There is more money that changes hands here in a day then Alabama see in a year. Unless of course you count what the Tide spends on recruiting violations


July 31st, 2009
1:50 pm

Comment to Bubba: That is Tennessee’s water concerning the Tennessee River. The Volunteer State should not have to pay for the reckless runaway development of the Atlanta area. Atlanta should take an example from other cities such as Portland OR and a few others who have carefully planned growth areas.

Too Much

July 31st, 2009
2:09 pm

It’s not the “feds” that will shut down Atlanta’s water. The “feds” have been with ATL all along, in the form of the Corps of Engineers. That’s been the problem. We got too used to having it our way that we neglected what the law actually says.

I think we’ve all learned that it is not wise to underestimate Alabama, whether it is in football or water wars.

Arrogance is our enemy. Sonny should humble himself and meet Riley half way.


August 4th, 2009
10:32 pm

This all about Alabama’s envy over Atlanta. Ever since Hartsfield put in our airport they have been complaining. Please leave your politics at the door and support Georgia.


August 5th, 2009
9:05 am

Another failure on the part of the visionless Perdue. Maybe he should convene another prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol to ask the Almighty to turn Florida and Alabma away from their evilness.