A judge has again ruled against Georgia in the tri-state water wars, refusing to agree that an order he issued in July was a final judgment in the case. The judge also said his prior order does not provide injunctive relief as the state claims. Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in July that it is illegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to draw water from Lake Lanier to meet the needs of metro Atlanta’s 3.5 million residents. He stayed the case for three years to give Georgia, Alabama and Florida time to work out a water-sharing plan.
The Georgia parties, which include the state, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the city of Atlanta, are seeking an appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. They say Magnuson’s order constitutes an injunction, which would give them one avenue of immediate appeal, but the judge disagreed. Separately, the Georgia parties asked Judge Magnuson to enter a final judgment in a lawsuit the state filed in 2000 when it sought a permanent reallocation of about 34% of Lake Lanier’s water for Atlanta.
This is one of seven lawsuits that have been consolidated and put before Judge Magnuson in the water wars litigation. In his July order, the Judge denied Georgia’s request for the permanent reallocation of Lake Lanier’s water, saying a prior ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in Washington had foreclosed the issue. By refusing to enter a final judgment there is nothing for Georgia to appeal. It’s pretty clear that this judge is ready for the ligation to end. Judge Magnuson said the matter was stayed for three years to allow the parties and the political system to attempt to reach a solution and he “fully anticipates” a resolution will be made before the deadline.
Source: Associated Press
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