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Corps again to seek public input on Lanier

POSTED: November 25, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to gather new public input for water control manuals governing the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier.

  

“In light of the significant new circumstances and information associated with [a July 17 federal court] ruling, the corps will reopen the scoping process to gather stakeholder input regarding these new circumstances,” said the Mobile District’s public affairs chief, E. Patrick Robbins.

  

Public comments will be considered in preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement for the manuals, corps officials said. Comments should be submitted in writing to Tetra Tech Inc., 107 Saint Francis St., Suite 1403, Mobile, AL 32206-9986.

  

They also can be submitted online at www.sam.usace.army.mil/pa/acf-wcm/mail_list.htm#form.

  

Those who sent in comments in a previous public-comment period don’t have to resubmit.

  

The corps held five public meetings on the matter in 2008.

  

The water control manuals spell out how their reservoirs should be managed, including how much water is released.

  

Area lake advocates have pushed hard for the update, as the current manual is 50 years old and the basin, particularly with Atlanta’s sprawling growth, has changed drastically over the years.

  

Georgia, Florida and Alabama have been locked in a 20-year dispute over Lanier’s water use.

  

The issue reached a head in July, when a federal judge ruled that the Atlanta area was illegally using Lake Lanier as a source for drinking water.

  

He said Georgia would lose access to the federal reservoir in three years if it can’t push a settlement through Congress authorizing that use.

  

State officials now are looking at several options to resolve the matter, including legal action and further talks with Alabama and Florida.

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