Florida and Georgia will split nearly $51,000 in additional fees for Special Master Ralph Lancaster, who in February sided with Georgia in a long-running legal battle about water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that the states split $50,933 in fees for Lancaster’s work from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. That followed a similar order in February in which the Supreme Court ordered the states to split a $213,547 tab for Lancaster’s work from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Florida filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging that Georgia is using too much water from the river system and is damaging Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County. Lancaster in February recommended to the Supreme Court that Florida be denied relief, dealing a major blow to the state’s case. The Supreme Court on March 20 said more legal briefs will be filed in the case, allowing Florida to contest Lancaster’s recommendation. Costs of the litigation has drawn scrutiny from Florida House leaders, as the state has spent tens of millions of dollars on legal fees.
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