Special to SEGAZINE
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts — or in this case, of “environmental” legislation the dubious benefits of which look less environmental than political and financial.A bill has resurfaced in the Georgia General Assembly that didn’t make the cut last year, and for good reason. Whether the reason it actually failed is the same as the reason it deserved to fail is a separate question.
The bill purports to be a wildlife protection measure that would keep low water levels from endangering the creatures that live in and near the river. The specific river in this case is the Flint, the Chattahoochee’s sister stream that begins below Atlanta and merges with the Hooch just above the Florida panhandle. The proposed solution — which, to be sure, is being used already — is a variation on interbasin transfer, the pumping of water from one river basin to another, or in this case from underground aquifers into low-flow streams. Georgia Environmental Protection Director Judson Turner said the bill would give his department more authority to curtail water use downstream.
So it’s downstream use that now represents the major challenge to the health of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint system?Under the aquifer storage and transfer system, the state supposedly could pump more water into the Flint during droughts. Meanwhile you already know where this is headed, metro Atlanta could withdraw more from the Chattahoochee. Florida would be pacified though there’s little obvious benefit for Alabama, and Atlanta could consume more without trouble from the Sunshine State.