Alabama plans appeal of water ruling

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 20, 2011, 2:20am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Monday the state plans to seek review of a federal appeals court's decision refusing to reconsider a ruling made earlier this year that allowed Atlanta to tap Lake Lanier for water.

"We are disappointed with the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and will immediately seek review of the ruling in the United States Supreme Court," Bentley said in a statement.

"Allowing Atlanta to tap water from Lake Lanier significantly limits the flow of water downstream to Alabama. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review of this case."

In June, a three-judge panel overturned a district court's order limiting use of the lake.

That order said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no right to allow Atlanta residents to rely on the lake for drinking water. It also set a three-year deadline for Alabama, Florida and Georgia to come to an agreement, or else the lake's use would be restricted.

The three-judge panel ordered the Corps to work it out in one year.

Alabama and Florida argue that Congress never gave Georgia permission to use the lake for drinking water and that Atlanta's consumption hurts wildlife and various communities.

None of the 11th Circuit's 10 judges voted in favor a new hearing, according to its decision released Friday.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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