FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 13, 2013
GOV. SCOTT: FLORIDA WILL TAKE HISTORIC LEGAL ACTION AGAINST GEORGIA IN FIGHT TO SAVE APALACHICOLA
~Governor Says Lawsuit is State’s Only Way
Forward After 20 Years of Failed Negotiations~
Today, Governor Rick Scott was joined by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to announce
that the State of Florida will file a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to stop
Georgia’s unchecked and growing consumption of water, which is threatening the
economic future of Apalachicola. Governor Scott said the state would file the
lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court in September. He made the announcement
following a tour of Apalachicola Bay Tuesday with Sen. Rubio, several area
legislators and elected officials.
Rick Scott said, “Because Georgia has not negotiated in good faith to fairly
share the waters that flow between our two states, we are announcing today that
Florida will bring suit in the U.S. Supreme Court next month to stop Georgia’s
unchecked consumption of water that threatens the existence of Apalachicola
fisheries and the future economic development of this region.
lawsuit will be targeted toward one thing - fighting for the future of
Apalachicola. This is a bold, historic legal action for our state. But this is
our only way forward after 20 years of failed negotiations with Georgia. We
must fight for the people of this region. The economic future of Apalachicola
Bay and Northwest Florida is at stake.”
and Alabama have each sought relief from harms caused by reduced flows and
increased Georgia consumption in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF)
River Basins over the past 20 years through legal challenges to the Army Corps
of Engineers’ water management practices, without success. Florida now
proposes to address the problem at its source – an Original Action filed with
the U.S. Supreme Court seeking injunctive relief against Georgia’s unmitigated
and unsustainable upstream consumption of water from the Chattahoochee and
Flint River Basins.
years of attempting to negotiate an equitable apportionment of the waters that
flow through the states, the collapse of the ACF Compact in 2003 left Florida
and Alabama in the same disadvantaged position. Meanwhile, Georgia had
improved its standing at the expense of its neighbors by staking increased
claims to the river waters for itself.
River water levels are directly impacted by upstream withdrawals from the
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers at all times – especially apparent during
low-flow summer and fall seasons. The Metro-Atlanta area primarily gets its
water from the Chattahoochee River with withdrawals totaling 360 million
gallons per day.
Georgia’s consumption is expected to nearly double to 705 million gallons per
day by 2035, as Atlanta’s population and water consumption grows unchecked.
That estimated daily consumption represents the approximate water volume of the
entire Apalachicola Bay.
low water levels brought about by Georgia’s excessive consumption have caused
oysters to die because of higher salinity in the Bay and increased disease and
predator intrusion. Oysters in the Bay account for 90 percent of Florida's
oyster supply and 10 percent of the nation's oyster supply.
Scott’s Florida Families First budget provided $4.7 million for water quality
restoration projects in the Apalachicola Bay estuary and oyster shelling and
research to help the industry recover.
Scott also called for a Commercial Fisheries Failure declaration from the U.S.
Department of Commerce last September to help the impacted area. The
declaration was just granted by the federal government yesterday, August, 12,