Gov. Robert Bentley last week said Alabama would appeal after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused a request from his state and Florida to reconsider a ruling that allows Atlanta and other surrounding communities to withdraw drinking water from Lake Lanier.
“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. “Allowing Atlanta to tap water from Lake Lanier significantly limits the flow of water downstream to Alabama.”
The appellate court in June set aside a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson, who had set a strict timeline for Georgia’s cities to dramatically cut back on withdrawals from the lake, which is fed by a federal reservoir and linked to tributaries that flow into Alabama and Florida.
For more than a decade, the three states have been locked in a legal dispute that has become known as the “tri-state water wars.”
Magnuson’s ruling had the potential to raise credit concerns for Atlanta and local communities because of the uncertainty it created about the availability of critical water supplies and the potential costs to develop new sources of potable water.