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Clouds keep Gov. Perdue from Gainesville visit
Perdue, Cagle and Richardson toured the state
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Gov. Sonny Perdue hinted Thursday that Georgia, Florida and Alabama may face a challenge in trying to reach a tri-state water agreement by Feb. 15.

"That’s optimistic," said Perdue in a telephone interview with The Times.

Perdue, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson were expected in Gainesville Thursday, but a low cloud cover made landing the state aircraft at Lee Gilmer Airport impossible.

The governor said a delegation from Georgia is meeting this week with their counterparts from Florida and Alabama along with federal officials.

The meeting is taking place at the National Conservation Training Center, which is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at Shepherdstown, W. Va., 75 miles outside Washington.

"They’re getting down to what we can agree on and all those points and hopefully move toward this Feb. 15 date with some sort of resolution," Perdue said. "That’s what we’re hoping for."

Perdue said Georgia is far from ending drought conditions.

"We’re not out (of the drought), and we won’t be until we get several more rains like we had between Christmas and New Year’s," Perdue said.

The governor is encouraged that water is being held in Lanier and other Georgia lakes."The good news is the changes we were able to affect in the federal management of this. If we had not had those changes, we wouldn’t have been able to store any of that water," he said

Perdue, Cagle and Richardson toured the state, touting a number of proposals that will go before the General Assembly, which convenes Monday in Atlanta.

"We are unified on the issues of education, water, transportation and health care," Perdue said. "This year, we plan to give Georgians what they expect: sensible and effective legislation that will continue our progress in improving education, establish plans to protect our water resources, improve Georgia’s transportation system and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges."

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