Archive for the ‘water wars’ Category

The $30 million price tag on a drought declaration

The Los Angeles Times today noted that Georgia is in the middle of a brutal drought – especially in southwest Georgia — that remains officially unofficial:

Environmentalists, scientists and farmers point to places like the Flint [River], as well as reservoir levels and stream and rainfall data as proof of drought. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and much of the business community contend that there is no drought. Unlike his predecessor, Deal has yet to declare one.

The state’s resistance to more drastic measures stems from its desire to protect its business-friendly image, critics say. “Atlanta is the brightest symbol of the ‘New South,’ and the Southern miracle depends on the use of natural resources,” said Gordon Rogers, executive director of Flint Riverkeeper, an environmental group. “And the key resource is water.”

A drought declaration would indeed allow the state to impose tougher water conservation restrictions. The 2007-2008 drought declaration by Gov. Sonny Perdue had a …

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Your morning jolt: John Barrow’s hall pass to escape convention detention

One day later, it’s become clear that U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta won’t be penalized by fellow Democrats for skipping the national convention in Charlotte this September.

The Democrat in charge of congressional campaigns has given him a pass. From Reuters:

“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” New York congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, [said] Tuesday.

Israel emphasized that Democratic President Barack Obama’s poll ratings – which have hovered around 50 percent – have little to do with his stance.

“I don’t care if the president was at 122 percent favorability right now,” he said. “I think (candidates) should be in their districts,” rather than spend time at the convention, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3-6.

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A few miles south of Charlotte, Gov. Nikki Haley’s choice for Congress, Tom Rice, crushed Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in the South Carolina Republican primary, …

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U.S. Supreme Court affirms metro Atlanta can use Lake Lanier for drinking water

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will not grant Alabama and Florida’s request for review of the decades-long legal dispute with Georgia over the intended use of water from Lake Lanier. That means metro Atlanta can use it to quench the thirst of its residents and businesses.

For Georgia, that’s bigger than the court’s decision upholding portions of HB 87.

The word from Attorney General Sam Olens:

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari, and the excellent decision by the Eleventh Circuit is the law – making clear that Lake Lanier can indeed be used for water supply for Georgia. It is my hope that we can finally put this decades-long legal dispute to rest and work together with our sister states — in meeting rooms, not courtrooms — to develop a fair and equitable water sharing plan and promote a strong and vibrant Southeastern region.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on …

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Kasim Reed on chasing Tennessee water: ‘The juice would be worth the squeeze’

On WABE (90.1FM) late Thursday, Denis O’Hayer’s interview with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed focused on the city’s sewer sales tax referendum, which comes up for renewal on March 6.

What O’Hayer didn’t broadcast were remarks Reed made about Georgia’s hunger for water. But they’re included in a longer version posted on the radio station’s web site. Reed was first asked about the city’s ability to meet growth with access to water.

Said Reed:

”The city has some unique assets that give us the capability to survive it. We have the most attractive parcel in the [north Georgia] region with regard to a new reservoir in Dawson [County]. So we have the capability to build that reservoir to provide the city of Atlanta and help the region’s need. We also have, in a park that’s not far from here, an ability to build a reservoir that can hold a 30-day water supply for the city of Atlanta.”

O’Hayer then asked Reed about House Speaker David Ralston’s declaration that the state shouldn’t give up on …

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Your morning jolt: Mitt Romney to highlight Newt Gingrich defector in Ga.

Updated at 9:07 a.m.: This notice just arrived from Politico.com:

Georgia State Rep. David Casas will announce later this morning that he’s jumping ship and joining with Mitt Romney. At 1:15 p.m., the Romney campaign will convene a conference call for Casas to attack Newt Gingrich. “Over the last few weeks, I have had a serious change of heart,” he explains in a forthcoming statement.

“While I initially supported Speaker Gingrich, his continued attacks upon the free enterprise system that has made our country great are particularly something I will not stand for.” Casas’ parents were political refugees from Cuba, and he was a high school teacher before winning election to the legislature in 2002.

Orginal: One day before Mitt Romney was due in Atlanta for a Buckhead fundraiser, his GOP presidential campaign dropped a first hint that it intends to challenge Newt Gingrich in the former U.S. House speaker’s “home” state.

The Romney issued a press release that listed a handful of …

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Your morning jolt: State wants reduced flow from Lake Lanier

Water levels at Lake Lanier have dropped at a rate of about a foot a week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers steps up water releases to keep stream levels up in a drought. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Water levels at Lake Lanier have dropped at a rate of about a foot a week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers steps up water releases to keep stream levels up in a drought. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Three years ago, drought exacerbated Georgia’s fight with Florida and Alabama over water. We may be headed that way again.

The Gainesville Times has unearthed a Nov. 7 letter from Allen Barnes, the director of the state’s Environmental Protection Division, to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking it to reduce the amount of water released from Lake Lanier through March:

The amount is 100 cubic feet below the target flow meant to dilute the treated wastewater coming from Atlanta and ensure the viability of wildlife in the Chattahoochee River near Peachtree Creek.

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It’s very possible that the more the GOP contest for president narrows to a fight between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the less likely it is that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul becomes a leverage point …

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain loses another Iowa staffer, wins Cobb straw poll

The bad news this morning for GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is that he’s lost yet another staffer in Iowa. From the American Spectator:

Former Des Moines Tea Party leader Charlie Gruschow has resigned from Atlanta businessman Herman Cain’s presidential campaign, the third resignation from Cain’s Iowa staff in recent days.

… Gruschow had been quoted in a Sunday article by Politico saying he was “optimistic” about the Cain campaign in Iowa.

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The good news for Herman Cain is that, here in Georgia, he’s still got juice. The former radio host and pizza magnate edged to the top of the annual straw poll conducted by Republicans who gather in Cobb County each Fourth of July. From today’s Marietta Daily Journal:

Joe Dendy, Cobb GOP chairman, said results for the straw poll put Cain at 43 percent, compared to only 14 percent for Newt Gingrich, 13 percent for Michele Bachmann, 10 percent for Rick Perry, eight percent for Mitt Romney, five percent for Tim Pawlenty, 3.5 percent …

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Your morning jolt: Forest Park backs off breast-feeding ban

Bowing to fierce demands from the lactation crowd, city officials in Forest Park say they’ve modified a controversial new public indecency ordinance that sparked recent protests.

They’ve removed the provision that would have restricted breast feeding to children under age 2. From the Associated Press:

The new version approved Monday simply states that breast-feeding of a baby is exempt from the restrictions.

In May, dozens of breast-feeding women and their supporters protested in front of the Forest Park City Hall. A Facebook campaign against the ordinance was also launched.

Forest Park City attorney Robert Mack Jr. has said the ordinance is aimed at public nudity — not breast-feeding.

Apparently, moms resented being placed in the same categories with strippers. Now, if we can only get San Francisco to back off that proposed circumcision ban.

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While we’re on the uncomfortable topic of government and body parts, the treatment that Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon …

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David Ralston broaches a Tennessee deal: Water for access to Atlanta’s airport, Savannah’s port

Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) has just posted an intriguing conversation with House Speaker David Ralston, in which the north Georgia lawmaker broached the idea of cutting a deal with Tennessee – water for speedy access to Atlanta’s airport and Savannah’s port.

Listen to the interview here.

For decades, Georgia lawmakers have argued that our state was deprived of water from the Tennessee River by an early 19th century surveyor’s mistake. But Ralston doesn’t raise that sticky issue:

Ralston: I have not had any formal discussions with any of the officials in Tennessee. From time to time, I’ve had occasion to visit with members of the Tennessee legislature and different meetings, and this subject has come up.

I wouldn’t characterize those discussions as being formal at all. I’m hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, though, we’ll be able to sit down and have a meeting where this will be the only thing on the agenda.

O’Hayer: Is there a timetable?

Ralston: We’ve all got busy …

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For mussel’s sake, U.S. study could send more water to Florida

Look for the fat threeridge mussel to enter the lexicon of Georgia politics. From Ray Henry and the Associated Press:

Federal scientists could revise their estimate of how much water Florida’s Apalachicola River needs to prevent the deaths of an endangered mussel, a development that could give Florida more legal leverage in a long-running water dispute with neighboring Georgia.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers are revisiting a 2008 report that found keeping the river flowing at a minimum of 5,000 cubic feet per second would not threaten the existence of the endangered fat threeridge mussel. But in September, scientists reported that the mussels had moved higher on the riverbank than during the drought-stricken period when the study was completed.

As many as 1,200 endangered mussels were exposed to the air in September when river levels dropped, said Donald Imm, a project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Panama City, Fla. It’s not clear whether they …

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