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US House leaders urge action on contract over water storage in Lake Lanier
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Buford Dam sits at the base of Lake Lanier and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Below the dam the Chattahoochee River continues southward. - photo by Scott Rogers

Area U.S. House leaders want answers on a contract for water storage in Lake Lanier that has been in negotiation for over a decade 

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, joined U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, a Republican representing parts of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, in writing a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for the contract to be finalized.  

In 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the Corps could allocate waters from Lake Lanier to Atlanta.  

“Despite this ruling and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that demonstrated such a contract would not harm Florida, the contract with Georgia has yet to be finalized,” the letter reads. “As the days and months go on, Georgia counties planning their water usage are unable to follow through with their plans and, unfortunately, these counties will continue to reckon with their inability to plan and predict their water usage from Lake Lanier until the sought-after contract is fully considered.” 

In 2016, the most recent Environmental Impact Statement from the Corps found that the contract would not harm Florida, according to the letter, but the contract is still being stalled, and “the states of Alabama and Florida are working to see that it never comes to fruition.” 

“In fact, the state of Alabama is capitalizing on the delay and requesting a new EIS,” the letter reads. “If Alabama’s request is fulfilled by the Corps, this already decade-long quest for a contract would be unnecessarily prolonged.” 

Collins and Woodall are asking the Corps to use the 2016 Environmental Impact Statement and 2011 Court of Appeals ruling to finalize the contract. They are also requesting the Corps send them a timeline for the decision by July 31.  

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