Ala. to seek Supreme Court review of water feud

September 19, 2011 - 4:15 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama's governor says the state will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide a dispute over Georgia's ability to use water from a reservoir that's the main source for roughly 3 million people in metro Atlanta.

Gov. Robert Bentley's decision came after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected a request for a new hearing from Georgia's neighbors, Alabama and Florida. Those states had wanted the full appeals court to reconsider a three-judge panel's ruling Atlanta had a legal right to take water from Lake Lanier northeast of the city.

Lawyers first learned of the appeals court's decision Monday, three days after it was made.

Alabama and Florida have argued that Congress never gave Georgia permission to use the federal reservoir as a water source and that Atlanta's consumption harms communities and wildlife downstream on the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola rivers.

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Ray Henry can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/rhenryAP.