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Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

DEP responds to House records request, defends payment of legal bills

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The state’s Department of Environmental Protection on Friday night released its response to the House of Representatives’ request for documentation of the legal billing in a longstanding river water use fight against Georgia. Interim DEP Secretary Ryan Matthews also sent a letter, saying his agency had “denied more than $3 million in expenses and hourly charges submitted by outside counsel.” A cursory review of the records shows not only invoices for legal fees but also, for example, a $272,000 contract between DEP…

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Official sides with Georgia over Florida in water lawsuit

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A judicial official sided with Georgia in a decades-long dispute over water rights with Florida on Tuesday, recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court refuse Florida’s high-stakes request to cap water use by its neighboring state. The dispute focuses on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, covering nearly 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers meet at the Georgia-Florida border to form the Apalachicola, which flows into the bay and the Gulf of…

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Richard Corcoran: House won’t OK legal money for DEP

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran late Monday said his chamber won’t agree to hand over any more money for the Department of Environmental Protection to pay its legal bills until the agency gives a full accounting of what’s already been spent. Corcoran was reacting to the DEP’s request to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission for an additional $13 million to pay outside legal counsel in an ongoing court fight between Georgia and Florida over water use. (Earlier story here.) The commission is scheduled to take up the request Tuesday. Coincidentally,…

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“Water war” could cost the state another $13M in legal fees

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water use

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has busted its outside legal expenses budget over the ongoing ‘water war’ between Georgia and Florida, legislative records show. It’s asking for an additional $13 million from the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which meets Tuesday — and even that may not be enough. Gov. Rick Scott‘s office approved the request to the commission, made up of House and Senate members, for “litigation costs.” “This increase is necessary to meet projected expenditures for outside counsel as…

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Trial set to begin in Florida and Georgia’s fight over water

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Florida and Georgia this week are taking their long-standing fight over the supply of water in their shared watershed to court. Arguments are expected to last for weeks, and the result could affect millions of people and major industries in both states. The dispute centers on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The watershed drains nearly 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Florida claims that Atlanta and southwest Georgia farmers are using too much water and…

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22 members of Florida congressional delegation call on feds to reconsider plans for Apalachicola River

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Most of Florida’s 29 congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., signed a letter to a high-ranking U.S. Army official on Tuesday calling for federal action to help revive the ailing Apalachicola River. Some 22 members of Congress — an evenly divided 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats — wrote Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy to express their concern over newly released federal documents regarding the ecologically sensitive Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin. The bipartisan group of senators and representatives told Darcy an environmental impact…

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