NASHVILLE — Run to your bunkers, Georgia lawmakers: Incoming fire’s heading across the border, courtesy of your Tennessee counterparts.
Tennessee House members cheered, whistled and noisily clapped today as a Nashville colleague launched a verbal barrage at Georgia’s demands for access to Tennessee River water to slake the state’s thirst.
“I believe that we might be the Volunteer state, but I believe in no way should we surrender any part of our state, particularly land and water we’ve possessed for nearly 200 years,” Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, said in his floor speech.
“Just because another state and a specific large city in that state has not done a better job for planning and development, they do not have a right to what the laws and the citizens of Tennessee [have],” Powell said. “As far as I’m concerned Georgia can keep its greedy hands and its thirsty mouths away from our water.”
Replied House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga: “I believe the representative can rest easy.”
Desperate for water to satisfy explosive development and growth around Atlanta, Georgia officials over the years have quarreled with Alabama and Florida on water issues. In recent years, they’ve revived their border dispute with Tennessee, contending a faulty 19th century survey swiped land from Georgia that includes parts of Hamilton County and Marion County.
The Georgia Legislature recently passed a resolution that seeks to negotiate with Tennessee over a small portion of land in Marion County. If that doesn’t work, the resolution authorizes the state to go the U.S. Supreme Court.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...