N.C. Attorney General: Commission Should Hear Dispute

A water rights lawsuit brought by South Carolina against North Carolina could be resolved by a commission that has already been established by the two states, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said on March 3.

Cooper believes that the North Carolina and South Carolina Catawba-Wateree River Basin Advisory Commission would be the best place to resolve the dispute.

"Your commission has a proven track record of working cooperatively with respect to water-related issues that impact both states. Consequently, I believe that the commission would be much better situated to achieve meaningful resolution of this dispute than would litigation," Cooper wrote in a letter accepting the commission's offer to resolve the dispute dated Feb. 26.

The commission was established in 2004 by the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures to protect the Catawba River basin.

"I urge South Carolina to allow the commission to work at resolving this dispute for the good of all of our citizens. The commission was created to deal with these issues, and I believe it presents the best opportunity for the states to work together to resolve this dispute, avoid substantial litigation costs, and reach a fair settlement," Cooper said in the letter, a copy of which went to South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster.

South Carolina filed suit against North Carolina in June of 2007 over use of water from the Catawba River, which starts in the North Carolina mountains and runs through a series of manmade lakes before reaching Lake Wylie in South Carolina. The case is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which appointed a special master to oversee the case.

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