By Kristi E. Swartz
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has agreed to meet with Gov. Sonny Perdue an an attempt to hash out a water-sharing agreement, Perdue said Monday.
Now it’s up to Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida to join in as well.
Perdue sent the two governors a list of 40 possible dates in which he was willing to sit down and talk about the use of Lake Lanier, which a federal judge last month said could not be tapped for drinking water.
Riley faxed a response with about 20 dates on Monday, Perdue told reporters at the Governor’s Mansion.
“Now it’s up to us to contact Gov. Crist and get a date and a venue,” said Perdue, flanked by 10 of the members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation.
Riley’s response comes two weeks after he and Perdue were trading barbs over exactly what happened when a water-sharing agreement fell apart in 2007.
Perdue accused Riley of walking away from a proposed agreement. When a Riley spokesman said any claim to that is “completely false,” Perdue called on the Alabama governor to waive a confidentiality agreement to let the public know exactly what happened two years ago.
On Monday Perdue said he had heard nothing from Riley on whether he was willing to do that.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in July that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should have never allowed Georgia to draw water from Lake Lanier, saying that it’s not among the lake’s “major uses.”
He also said metro Atlanta would be cut off from using Lake Lanier for drinking water in three years unless the three states reach an agreement, which also must be approved by Congress.
Perdue met with Georgia’s delegation Monday to review his plan to regain use of Lake Lanier. He will also host a briefing on Wednesday on the ongoing efforts to solve the tri-state water war for the gubernatorial candidates.
“This is a state issue … it affects all of our state. It’s not just a metro Atlanta issue, and it’s not just a southwest Georgia issue,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss.