| TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Oct 1 Florida filed a lawsuit
on Tuesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce neighboring
Georgia's use of water from the Chattahoochee River that feeds
the oyster beds and fish-spawning areas of Florida's Gulf Coast.
"Georgia has refused to fairly share the waters that flow
between our two states," Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a
statement explaining his reasons for the lawsuit, the latest
chapter of a decades-old feud over water rights.
"Generations of Florida families have relied upon these
waters for their livelihood, but now risk losing their way of
life if Georgia's actions are not stopped," he added.
The governor and local officials say the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers has allowed Georgia to impound water upstream in large
reservoirs, at the expense of oysters beds in Apalachicola Bay.
Low water levels in the bay have resulted in higher
salinity, increased disease and predators in the oyster beds.
Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been discussing
agriculture, industry and recreational uses of the Chattahoochee
and Flint Rivers, which form the Apalachicola River about 50
A spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal called
Florida's lawsuit "frivolous."
"Florida is receiving historically high water flows at the
state line this year, but it needs a bogeyman to blame for its
poor management of Apalachicola Bay," the spokesman, Brian
Robinson, said in a statement.
"This lawsuit is political theater and nothing more,"
The metro Atlanta area gets most of its water - 360 million
gallons a day - from the Chattahoochee River and Georgia's
consumption is expected to nearly double by 2035, Florida says.
Shannon Hartsfield, president of the Franklin County Seafood
Workers Association, said workers, who used to get six or eight
60-pound bags of oysters a day from the bay, are now lucky to
get two or three.
He said "it's going to get worse" for the local economy,
with many boat owners leaving the Florida Panhandle in search of
"I'm just worried that the lawsuit is going to take a long
time," he said. "I'd like to see the governors get together and
work out a solution."
(Editing by David Adams and Leslie Gevirtz)