Lanier advocates react to Florida suit threat

BUFORD — A local homeowners group has issued a report about the most recent news in Georgia’s water wars with Alabama and Florida.

Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, said that association members are diappointed in Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s intention of filing a lawsuit over the contentious water supply issue.

“The LLA has empathy for the Florida oyster industry, having experienced the direct impact of a major drought on a North Georgia economy,” a press release issued earlier this week said, adding that the drought brought $100 million annually in losses when Lanier was drawn below 1,060 feet above full pull for prolonged periods of time.

But members say that Scott has “misdirected his resources,” in blaming the state’s oyster problems on Georgia. Studies have shown that other issues like allowing too much salt water into the bay, overharvesting and poor seeding have caused the problems in the industry, but Scott has focused on water consumption in metro Atlanta as the primary cause.

In the release, the Lake Lanier Association recommended Florida invest in groups exploring the oyster problem, including the ACF Stakeholders, which has worked on a study for four years with results expected by the end of 2013.

“The LLA encourages a collaborative working relationship between the state governors to establish a fair and equitable water sharing agreement without the delay and expense that would be incurred from legal proceedings,” the release said.