Atlanta vs. Alabama and Florida
A court case over the fate of Atlanta’s water supply seems to be heading for a ruling in the city’s favor, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. During arguments Wednesday in Atlanta, a three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that they would overturn a lower court’s decision to restrict municipal water use from Lake Lanier. Judges from the 11th Circuit did not issue a ruling last week, but they did suggest that they will leave it up to the Army Corps of Engineers to determine water releases from the lake.
Red River Rivalry
In arguments Tuesday before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, lawyers representing Irving, Texas and the Tarrant Regional Water District asserted that Oklahoma’s refusal to sell water to entities in Texas violates the commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs have an agreement to buy water from the city of Hugo, Okla., but the Oklahoma legislature has banned out-of-state water sales. Judges hearing the case did not say when they would issue a ruling.
The Department of Justice has lodged a proposed consent decree against Arch Coal for violations of the Clean Water Act. Under the decree, Arch Coal will pay a civil penalty of $4 million for violating pollution limits since 2004 for selenium, manganese, iron, aluminum and total suspended solids. The pollutants were discharged from mining operations into tributaries of the Ohio River in West Virginia and Kentucky. The decree also includes provisions for annual environmental audits, inspections, treatment systems and employee training.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton