Lawmakers wont let Georgia hijack water

Johnson City Press • Feb 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Georgia lawmakers are at it again. In recent years, state legislators there have tried a number of schemes to siphon water from the Tennessee River. This year, they have informed their counterparts in Tennessee they have until March 20 to settle a boundary dispute between the two states. As the Chattanooga Times-Free Press reported earlier this month, Georgia says Tennessee can have a strip of land (and its 30,817 residents) if the Volunteer State gives up an unpopulated 1.5 square miles near Dade County, Ga., so that a pipeline can be built to pump as much as 1 billion gallons a day from Nickajack Lake to Atlanta.If Tennessee doesn’t agree by the time the Georgia General Assembly ends its current legislative session, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is obligated to file suit against Tennessee in the U.S. Supreme Court.Dry conditions across the Southeast have made water supply and river management a key issue for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Cities like Atlanta would love to have access to TVA’s water resources. Key to those resources is the Tennessee River, which empties as much water by volume into the Ohio as the much-longer Missouri does into the Mississippi.A reliable water supply is a community’s lifeblood. It’s what fuels growth and development. Without it, communities literally dry up and become ghost towns.That’s why we are pleased to hear Tennessee lawmakers say they aren’t about to allow this precious resource to be hijacked by our neighbors. “We’re not going to move the state line, and we’re not going to give them the Tennessee River,” state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, told the Times-Free Press.

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