Georgia Senate panel OKs bill seeking access to Tennessee River water

Georgia Senate panel OKs bill seeking access to Tennessee River water

February 20th, 2013 by Tim Omarzu in Local - Breaking News

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

ATLANTA - Georgia would give up its longstanding claim to 66 square miles of Tennessee - including East Ridge and Lookout Mountain - if it's given a strip of land to tap into the Tennessee River under proposed legislation that cleared a hurdle this afternoon in the Georgia Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill authored by state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who says Georgia's actual border is at the 35th parallel - right in the middle of Nickajack Lake.

Geisinger told committee members that his bill, which already passed the House in a 171-2 vote, is a good offer for Tennessee.

A pipeline could take up to one billion gallons a day from the Tennessee River and deliver it to Georgia, Alabama and Florida with "little or no effect" on the river, Geisinger said, basing that figure on a 2004 study by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The judiciary committee approved the legislation, with the exception of Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who cast a symbolic "no" vote because he thinks Georgia should try to take back all of the disputed territory.

Sen. Carter is a grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.