Okay, in a way, I do actually get a small kick out of watching three Republican governors finger point, call names, and go running to the White House to tell on one another. But, folks, the water crisis is serious. Despite water conferences between the three (Florida's Governor Crist is new to the fray) from Tallahassee to Bainbridge to Dothan, the states of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama just can't seem to share the water. So, we'll likely see things settled in a federal court. Hopefully, it will be a settlement that all three states can live with.
Yesterday's AJC contained a guest column by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley where he had this to say in response to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's assertion that Florida and Alabama are trying to take Georgia's drinking water:
"Contrary to some of the recent heated rhetoric emanating in Georgia, Alabama doesn't seek to cut off drinking water supplies to the Atlanta region. But Alabama cannot stand by and watch Georgia make a claim on the water in those reservoirs as if it belonged only to Atlanta. Downstream communities in Alabama and Georgia depend on the releases from those reservoirs to meet drinking water needs in times of drought as well as to support industry. If the water is not released, then the industries will be forced to shut down, and thousands of Alabama and Georgia families will lose their source of income."
Not to be outdone, Perdue offered a response criticizing the Corps of Engineers and suggesting that the amount of water Gov. Riley claims that Alabama needs isn't accurate in today's AJC saying:
"I will not stand for negligence when it comes to protecting Georgians' water supply. The Corps of Engineers' culpability grows every day. I will continue to seek a reasonable solution from the president of the United States, and by working with my friends in Alabama, but I cannot allow Riley's inaccurate assertions to go unchallenged."
Perdue won't stand for "negligence", eh? Well, former Georgia Democratic Party chair, Bobby Kahn weighs in over at Peach Pundit, and points out that Georgia's water crisis might at least be partially blamed on the Governor's own negligence (h/t Amy):
"Before Perdue was elected, Georgia was implementing a water plan. The Department of Natural Resources was looking to build reservoirs in North Georgia controlled by the state that would be used for drinking water. Currently, the lakes that supply the water to the Metro Atlanta region are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and have other purposes, including providing power and serving downstream environmental needs. That plan has been delayed for at least five years. As a result, Georgia finds itself fighting the Corps because we waited."
It seems that as Gov. Perdue postures and gyrates before the state's media, throwing in a punch or two to please the home folks, he himself has played a role in our water shortage. Considering that last year was a re-election year for the governor, it's disappointing that water wasn't a large issue between he and his opponent. Come to think of it, neither was transportation, nor the overdevelopment of north Georgia, which also contributes to our water problems. Consequently, south and western Georgians as well as Alabamians and Floridians are paying a price too.
So I'm hoping that the armchair political QB's that spent 2006 defending the slimey tactics of the undynamic duo of Perdue and Mark Taylor, and being concerned more about winning the election than actually solving the problems of the state are now happy. Continuing to turn important races that should be based on a little thing called issues rather than Wikipedia entries or writing letters to the editor over sports section headlines.
And if you're reading this and feeling a finger poking in your eye, don't blame me. You can't fault us "idealists" for feeling this way.
You want a good dose of "realism?" Well, I hope you can drink this bit of reality. Whether it be mussel farmers, people paying higher prices for electricity, or those of us facing water rationing, someone is going to be hurting - at least for a while.
Somehow I doubt that the any of the three states are completely right about their arguments. But I know this much, Georgia (metro Atlanta anyway) has made some unhealthy contributions to this crisis that plagues us.
So for our part, I'd like to humbly apologize to our neighbors and friends in "the other Georgia" as well as in the states of Alabama and Florida. Try not to hold it against us all.