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Florida lawyers: Lack of relief in water wars could ‘spell doom’
Lake Lanier

Florida isn’t mincing words in the ongoing water wars with Georgia. 

“Denying Florida relief not only would spell doom for Apalachicola, it would set the bar so high for an equitable apportionment that it would effectively invite states to raid water as it passes through their borders,” Florida lawyers said in a brief filed Monday, July 27, in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Florida is trying to convince justices to hear its case against Georgia, alleging “overconsumption” of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier in the headwaters. 

The Apalachicola River spills into the Gulf of Mexico, where Florida claims it has suffered economic and ecological harm. 

Georgia, meanwhile, wants the court to accept U.S. Circuit Judge Paul J. Kelly’s recommendation that justices not grant Florida’s request for an equitable apportioning of waters in the basin. Kelly was appointed by the Supreme Court to make a recommendation to the court on the matter. 

It’s been a war of words over water, as both sides have filed briefs over the past few months. 

Florida filed a brief in April formally asking the court to reject U.S. Circuit Judge Paul J. Kelly’s recommendation.  

Georgia fired back in June, saying, “After more than six years of litigation, it is now clear that Florida’s case was built on rhetoric and not on facts.” 

Allowed by the court to file additional briefs, Florida did so with its Monday document. 

In the case with Georgia, “it is clear one state is taking more than its fair share,” the state of Florida said.