Top court stays out of water tiff between 3 states

June 25, 2012 - 12:35 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene in a dispute among three states over how Atlanta's water use affects areas downstream.

That's good news for the Atlanta area because it means a previous court ruling in its favor will remain in place. The high court's move on Monday is bound to frustrate authorities in Florida, Alabama and even southern Georgia. They complain that withdrawals from a federal reservoir in north Georgia harms wildlife, fisheries and drinking water supplies downstream on the Chattahoochee River.

The back-and-forth legal battle had threatened to severely restrict Atlanta's water supply. In 2009, a federal judge ruled against the city and found that it needed to lower its withdrawals from Lake Lanier. But last year, a federal appeals court overturned that ruling and found Atlanta has a right to water from the reservoir.