Here’s some Supreme Court news we overlooked: On Monday, the court, by not granting petitions for writs of certiorari filed by Alabama, Florida and Southeastern Federal Power Customers, essentially validated Atlanta’s right to water from Lake Lanier (Docket).
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last year reversed a district court ruling, finding:
First, the district court erred in finding that it had jurisdiction to hear Alabama, SeFPC, and Apalachicola because the Corps has not taken final agency action. The three cases therefore must be remanded to the Corps in order to take a final agency action. Second, the district court and the Corps erred in concluding that water supply was not an authorized purpose of the Buford Project under the [Rivers and Harbors Act]. The Corps’ denial of Georgia’s 2000 water-supply request is therefore not entitled to Chevron deference, and the request must be remanded to the Corps for reconsideration. Third, the district court erred in finding that the 1956 Act, which authorized the Corps to contract with Gwinnett County to withdraw 10 million gallons of water per day, expired after 50 years. Gwinnett County’s contractual and just-compensation claims are without merit. Fourth, we also provide certain instructions to the Corps on remand. And finally, the Corps shall have one year to make a final determination of its authority to operate the Buford Project under the RHA and [1958 Water Supply Act].
- SCOTUSblog page with petition, et al.
- Tri-State Water Wars page (from whence the image to the right was lifted)
- Docket of 11th Circuit case
- Gov. Nathan Deal likes the outcome (press release, 6/25/12), likes even more the Army Corps of Engineers’ legal analysis that says it has the authority to give Atlanta water from the lake (news coverage of the Corps’ analysis here, by AP’s Ray Henry)
- Note: Neither Florida governor Rick Scott nor Alabama Gov Bob Bailey issued statements, though comments can be found in the news stories linked above.
- Corps documents
- 2012 ACF Legal Opinion
- 2012 ACF Technical Analysis
- 2012 ACF Hydropower Study
- May 2012 RIOP/FONSI & EA
- May 2012 RIOP EA Appendix A
- May 2012 RIOP EA Appendices B-C
- May 2012 RIOP EA Appendices D-E
- ACF/ACT Water Resources Update
- ACF River Basin The Facts and Status
- ACF/ACT Items
- ACT Water Control Manual Update
- ACF Water Control Manual Update
- Federal Storage Reservoir Critical Yield Analysis
- ACT/ACF Rivers February 2010
More legal background, courtesy of SCOTUSBlog
These documents concern the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Feb. 5, 2008, that an agreement to reallocate Lake Lanier’s storage space “constitutes a major operational change on its face and has not been authorized by Congress.” The court reversed the district court’s decision. Litigation continued in the 11th Circuit.
Title: Georgia v. Florida, et al.
Issue: The validity of, and ability of Florida and Alabama to challenge, a settlement agreement involving water allocation from Lake Lanier in Georgia.