Southeast States Deadlock on Water Use

The March 1 deadline came and the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were unable to come to terms on water management of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basins in the southeastern United States.

Governors from those states have been in negotiation since November 2007 with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and the Council on Environmental Quality's Chair Jim Connaughton.

The state leaders were able to develop an arrangement that will be valid until June 1.

Kempthorne told the governors in a letter that the agency will review interim operations that will replace the current program. He noted that federal agencies may further revise the operations based on law, changing hydrological conditions, and new information. "Any future changes in interim operations will be necessary only until the water control plans and manuals are revised," he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the cooperating federal agencies will maximize the opportunities for the states to participate in the revision process for water control manuals and plans, Kempthorne added.

The states are expected to work out their disagreement in federal court.

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