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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tri-state water war negotiation begins



TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist launched a scheduled day-long negotiating session over water Monday morning at the governor's mansion with an expression of hope.

During a photo opportunity with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and U.S Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Kempthorne mentioned that last week his department had worked out an agreement with seven Western states to conserve and share scarce Colorado River water, ending a long, divisive battle.

"So you've got the 'mo' going," Crist quipped. "We should be able to come to an accord."

"We will accept nothing less," joked Gov. Riley. Perdue, laughing, told Kempthorne, "No pressure!"

Florida, Alabama and Georgia have been fighting for more than 17 years over the water flowing in the Chattahoochee River and Apalachicola River. Urban Atlanta uses that water, flowing out of Lake Lanier, to supply its sprawling growth, while Alabama uses it to cool a nuclear plant that supplies power to most of the state. In Florida, the river flows into Apalachicola Bay, where the amount of fresh water can greatly affect the state of the region's seafood industry.

--Craig Pittman

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:11pm]


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