No statewide victory in water wars
We've had our say. Here's a sampling of what other newspapers are saying around Georgia
For the umpteenth time over more than 20 years and through administrations and Legislatures of both parties, we'll say it again: While the interests of the state of Georgia and our massive capital city certainly overlap, they are not inherently synonymous.
In water issues, in fact, they have often been in conflict. And Georgians in downriver communities like (Columbus) have built up more than two decades' worth of frustration trying to convince the powers under the gold dome that the water interests of "Georgia" mean something other than pumping enough into Atlanta to supply the city's open-ended sprawl until the end of recorded time.
From a legal perspective, Georgia's team of attorneys did indeed prevail with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in overturning a 2-year-old ruling that had put the state at the mercy of a fastticking clock. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in July 2009 that Lake Lanier, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment on the Chattahoochee north of Atlanta, had never been constructed for the purpose of supplying Atlanta with water. The court gave the state three years to work out a water sharing agreement with Alabama and Florida before the tap would be turned off — an outcome that would be nothing less than devastating for millions in Atlanta.
Alabama and Florida attorneys took Magnuson's point a step further: Not only was Lake Lanier not impounded to supply Atlanta with water, but it was a federal rather than a state or municipal project — the city did not pay for it, and therefore has no legal right to appropriate its waters.
The court unanimously ruled otherwise: "We know that Congress contemplated that water supply may have to be increased over time as the Atlanta area grows," the judges wrote.
Unless there's a specific law or precedent in there somewhere, to base a ruling this profound on what judges say they "know" Congress "contemplated" half a century ago sounds suspiciously like that dreaded "judicial activism" we've all been taught to fear and loathe.
- Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Parks need no pizazzz
As far as state parks are concerned, being boring shouldn't always necessarily be seen as a bad thing.
It could, for instance, mean being somewhere with little to do other than contemplate one's place in the natural world. Or, it could mean having an opportunity to reflect quietly on past events at one historic spot or another. In both instances, there's little evidence of activity, but that doesn't mean that people engaging in those pursuits are bored. They might, in fact, be seeking just the peace they can find in those places.
That's why it's just a little troubling to hear the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has bought into a consultant's assessment that the state's parks are boring, and have "drafted a plan for adding pizzazz" to the parks...
The DNR's goal "is for each facility to generate at least 75 percent of what it takes to operate." The good news is that parks with lodges already generate 91 percent of needed operating revenues, and that state golf courses generate revenue equaling 71 percent of needed operating revenue...
The bad news — or, to be fair, the potentially bad news — is that a significant part of the DNR's strategy for moving closer to across-the-board self-funding "requires construction of new lodges, camp stores and gift shops." It's certainly to be hoped that the DNR will think through those projects to ensure that they don't have any overwhelmingly negative effects on the ability of people to come to the parks to experience the natural world. But it's worth worrying that such initiatives might discourage use of the parks by a significant contingent of the people who use them for the escape they can offer from the workaday world.
- Athens Banner-Herald