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Magnuson ruling overturned, granting Atlanta a temporary reprieve

Yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals released its decision upholding Georgia's access to Lake Lanier for water supply. This ruling is a complete reversal of a lower court ruling, known as the Magnuson decision, which had given Georgia, Alabama, and Florida until July 2012 to get Congressional authorization to use Lanier for water supply, and then to reach an agreement on the amount. This latest ruling removes the 2012 deadline for the states and instead gives the Corps of Engineers just one year to determine how to operate Buford Dam to support water supply as well as hydropower, flood control, and navigation.

Still pending is the second phase in the litigation concerning federal legal requirements to protect endangered species and other environmental uses. As a leader of the Tri-State Conservation Coalition and a member of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Stakeholders group, UCR will continue to advocate for water conservation and healthy instream flows that protect fish, wildlife, recreation, and downstream communities, as well as metro Atlanta's drinking water.

To read the AJC story on the decision, click here.

For more information on the tri-state water conflict, click here.

To learn more about metro Atlanta's water conservation efforts over the past decade, read UCR's "Filling the Water Gap: Conservation Successes and Missed Opportunities in Metro Atlanta," click here.

"Dirty water" bill threatens Chattahoochee

Please call your call U.S. representative today and urge him to OPPOSE H.R. 2018. Tell him that this bill will harm the Chattahoochee River and other Georgia waterways because if passed, it would:

  • prevent the U.S. EPA from stepping in if Georgia fails to adequately protect our waters from pollution;
  • abolish EPA's authority to block permits that may negatively affect drinking water, fisheries, wildlife, recreation, and downstream communities; and
  • undermine the Clean Water Act's central goal to restore the Chattahoochee and other Georgia waterways to "fishable, swimmable" standards.

To find your representative, go to www.congress.org and enter your zip code. Thank you!

HR 2018 - "Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011" - was passed out of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week without any public hearing or environmental subcommittee review. This is undoubtedly the boldest attempt to date to dismantle the federal-state cooperation that lies at the heart of the Clean Water Act and has safeguarded our water ways for nearly four decades. When passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act gave EPA the authority to control pollution and improve water quality across the country, helping to protect our waterways for drinking, swimming, and fishing. HR 2018 takes EPA out of the picture, shifting regulatory power back to the states, back to the days when Georgia and other states could dump untreated sewage and toxic chemicals unceremoniously into our rivers and lakes.

Buy SweetWater t-shirts, paper fish before July 4th

As the end of the Sixth Annual Save the Hooch Campaign draws near, UCR would like to give a big shout-out to Sweetwater Brewery which has raised a total of $250,000 through past campaigns to help UCR protect the Chattahoochee River! We're excited to wrap up what is sure to be our most successful campaign this year. So, before July 4th arrives, stop by your local pub and purchase your Save the Hooch t-shirt, a paper fish, and of course a pint of your favorite Sweetwater brew! Thanks to all who have contributed in 2011 and "gave of your liver to save the river!"

Get to know your river with Discovery Series

With 22 happy paddling participants, we just completed the first River Discovery Series trip this past Saturday from Buford Dam to Settles Bridge. The series consists of five trips and is a great way to get to know your river within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Hosted by UCR in partnership with the National Park Service, these trips are designed for beginners and advanced paddlers. There are four trips left this summer, but just a few spots left for the second trip on July 9. Don't miss the opportunity to join in the fun. Click here for more information and to register.

Waterkeepers convene in Chicago

UCR staff attended the annual Waterkeeper Alliance conference in Chicago last week, along with most of the nearly 200 other Waterkeeper organizations from six continents including China, Australia, and Africa. The annual conference is an opportunity to share information and practice tips on issues that threaten communities' right to clean water—from polluted stormwater runoff to climate change. This year's guest speakers included U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer; and Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff of the Obama Administration and current Mayor of Chicago. To learn more about the global movement of the Waterkeeper Alliance go to: www.waterkeeper.org.

JUNE 29, 2011


Benefit beer dinner at Vinings Fish Company –
June 30

New state park opening on the river!

Back the Brookie restoration project –
July 9

WKA Earthshare Georgia Water Coalition