Last Updated On: 7/22/2010 12:11:53 PM
ATLANTA — A federal judge has rejected demands from Florida that more water be released from Lake Lanier, Metro Atlanta’s main source for drinking water.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson on Wednesday rejected Florida’s request that more water be released from the lake to help endangered or threatened species in the Apalachicola and other rivers. Those species are the Gulf sturgeon, fat threeridge mussel and the purple bankclimber mussel.
“Judge Magnuson’s rejection of Florida’s efforts to seek a judicial decree for higher downstream flows that were not supported by science or the law is a major victory for Georgia,” Governor Sonny Perdue said in a statement Thursday. “Any kind of higher guaranteed flow for Florida would have put a strain on Georgia communities up and down the Chattahoochee River. We always felt the use of the Endangered Species Act was just a ruse to try and wring more water out of Georgia. Judge Magnuson recognized that and issued a common-sense ruling that allows the three states to continue meaningful talks.”
Judge Magnuson has threatened to severely restrict Metro Atlanta’s use of the reservoir by 2012 unless leaders in Georgia, Alabama and Florida can strike a deal.
“With this ruling in hand, it is time for the three governors to come back together at the negotiating table and continue our ongoing efforts to finally reach a water-sharing agreement that benefits all three states,” Perdue said. “We stand ready and willing to engage at the earliest opportunity possible.”
Magnuson earlier ruled that Atlanta has little legal right to drinking water from Lake Lanier.