Nashville Notebook: Haslam dismissive of Georgia claims to Tennessee water

Nashville Notebook: Haslam dismissive of Georgia claims to Tennessee water

July 21st, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Gov. Bill Haslam answers a question during a news conference in this file photo.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

POLL: Should Georgians get Tennessee River water?

Atlanta television station WXIA sent a crew to Nashville last week to ask Gov. Bill Haslam the question on the tip of many Georgians' tongues these days: Why won't the Volunteer State give up water from the Tennessee River to slake Georgians' voracious thirst?

Haslam generally dismissed Georgia officials' claim to a portion of the river in Marion County based on what they say was a faulty 19th century land survey.

"We're very satisfied with the situation the way it is now, for good reason," a smiling Haslam told WXIA reporter Doug Richards.

He said it's "beyond my capacity" to say whether Georgia has any business accessing the Tennessee River.

Richards shot back with, "Well, surveyors say that they do."

Haslam replied, "Yeah. Again, it's not an issue I spend a whole lot of time focused on."

The governor said he knows Georgia lawmakers have authorized a march to the U.S. Supreme Court over the disputed boundary. But he said Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper feels fairly good about the state's legal position.

But why not make peace with Georgia, which has fought other water wars with Alabama and Florida, the reporter asked.

"Like Nixon going to China. Extend the olive branch to Georgia," Richards said.

"Well," Haslam said laughing, "we offered to trade 'em for the Braves or Stone Mountain. But they didn't."

"I'm teasing," the governor quickly added.

The station also interviewed Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who said he plans to bring the issue up with Haslam at an upcoming meeting of governors.

"I think there is an opportunity to at least have a civil discussion about that issue," Deal said.