There was a noteworthy, if completely unsurprising, development in the case marinating in the U.S. Supreme Court involving the dispute between the states of Georgia and Florida over consumption of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin.
A group of local governments and quasi-official regional entities on Monday jointly filed an amicus brief in support of Georgia’s case. As reported by Nick Bowman in the Gainesville Times, the brief argues that Florida, as plaintiff in the long-running case, has failed to prove water use restrictions on Georgia it is seeking would benefit Florida.
The Georgia interests represented in the brief, as reported in the Times, include the city of Gainesville, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Forsyth, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton counties, and the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority. As a cheering section for the state, that’s a notably close-clustered alliance. Not on the list (again, unsurprisingly) are the likes of Newnan, Franklin, LaGrange, West Point, Columbus, and on down the line — or rather, down the river. That might or might not matter in this instance.
Georgia’s case has already been bolstered by a court-appointed special master’s opinion that Florida has not shown evidence of environmental and economic hardships attributable to excess water consumption upriver, either by metro Atlanta from the Chattahoochee or by agriculture from the Flint.
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The friend of the court brief filed Monday goes further, flipping the case by arguing that not only has Georgia not harmed Florida, but “in neither region would the damage inflicted on Georgia be remotely justified by the benefits of a consumption cap.”
Also helping Georgia’s case — and in this instance, all of Georgia’s interests — is the effect of a long-term conservation effort that has reduced water use in the Atlanta area by more than one-third.
“It’s estimated,” Bowman writes, “such a consumption cap would cost Georgia’s economy billions of dollars.” That kind of economic impact, like the need for water, wouldn’t be limited to Atlanta.
STEM’s great, but …
An education issue that might have slipped under the radar:
As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a state program that paid one advanced-placement test fee for every low-income student has quietly been made both broader and narrower.
Now the state will pay for one test for any student, regardless of income — but only in a tech-related subject. Students who want to take AP tests in the humanities — history, languages, literature, the arts — and can’t afford the $93 cost are out of luck in Georgia.
The AJC quoted from a letter Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Austell, sent his constituents alerting them that the state will no longer offer many students an AP exam “that could be the difference between continuing their studies after high school or missing out on that opportunity.”
This isn’t a left-brain/right-brain argument about education. Certainly Georgia’s booming film industry (to use just one example) needs top-notch technicians. But it also needs people who can write the scripts.