georgia Isakson Water wars

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today fought Senate leaders to remove language added to the Energy and Water appropriations bill.

Isakson pointed to the harmful language included in the fiscal year 2016 funding measure that would give Congress the authority to intervene in the long-standing water dispute on the side of Alabama and against Georgia as the reason he will “passionately object” to this bill if it is allowed to proceed with the unfair language attached.

Isakson voted against proceeding to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. The motion failed by a vote of 49-47.

Isakson argued on the Senate floor that Congress should not be in the business of taking sides in interstate disputes, especially in a case such as this in which litigation is pending.

“Included in this Energy and Water report is language that was circuitously placed into the bill that would disadvantage my state of Georgia and show a preference to other states that surround us,” said Sen. Isakson during debate on the Senate floor. “I do not appreciate the use of an appropriations bill to direct the actions of the Army Corps of Engineers to disadvantage my state and advantage another state without debate, without any degree of direction, and in total conflict with the court’s decisions of the past. So I reluctantly will vote ‘No’ on moving forward on cloture until we remove this language from the underlying bill.”

Language is included in the 2016 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from addressing Georgia’s water supply needs in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin.

The “reallocation” prohibited by this language has been central to an interstate dispute between Georgia and Alabama since 1990, when Alabama first sued to prevent Georgia from reallocating water within the basin. That lawsuit was dismissed as baseless in 2012 after 22 years of litigation.

Currently, Georgia has a case being considered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia that would require the Army Corps of Engineers to complete an impact study and make a decision on Georgia’s water supply needs.

October 8, 2015

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