Lawmakers return to water fight with Tennessee
1:22 pm, February 13th, 2013
The Georgia Legislature is wading back into a boundary dispute with Tennessee over Nickajack Lake and water rights.
The state House approved a resolution Tuesday that would extend Georgia’s northern boundary one mile north and allow it to exercise its water rights to the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake.
House Resolution 4 cites a flawed survey conducted in 1818 that placed the boundary between Georgia and Tennessee one mile south of the actual location, which was on the 35th parallel.
Parts of Georgia have been mired in draught, causing the state to fight over rights to water from the Chattahoochee and other rivers with Alabama and Florida, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, in federal court. Allowing Georgia to pump water from Nickajack Lake would allow the state to pump it to rapidly developing metro Atlanta.
HR 4 appears to have bipartisan support as well as the backing of state leadership. Its sponsors are Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell; Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton; Majority Leader and lawyer Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire; Minority Leader and lawyer Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta; Majority Whip and lawyer Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta; and
Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus.
The House floor vote was 171-2. One of the lawmakers who voted against the resolution is Rep. Jay Neal, R-LaFayette, whose district lies just south of southeast Tennessee.
When a similar proposal arose in 2008 under Governor Sonny Perdue, then-Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen refused to met with him about it.
For full text of the bill, go to http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20132014/HR/4