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New Judge for Florida-Georgia Water War

Dan Florida, Georgia, Water

Earlier this month, we told you a new federal appellate judge, based in New Mexico, is tasked with sorting out the long-running battle between Florida and Georgia over water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system.

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According to a story from the News Service of Florida, both sides recently filed briefs in the debate about whether limits should be placed on Georgia’s water usage in the river system, which starts in the Peach State and flows south into the Florida Panhandle.

Florida argues water usage by farmers in Southwest Georgia has reduced flows in the river system, causing problems with the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay. But Georgia argues that Florida allowed over-harvesting of oysters after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, causing lasting damage to the industry.

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. was named as a special master in this case after a divided U.S. Supreme Court, last June, overturned the 2017 recommendation by another special master, Ralph Lancaster. He said Florida had not proven its case “by clear and convincing evidence” that imposing a cap on Georgia’s water use would benefit the Apalachicola River region.

The Supreme Court decision did not resolve the water war, thus kicking it back for additional arguments. Click here to read more of this story.