The neighboring states had appealed a lower court's ruling that said Georgia could use the massive reservoir, which was created by the federal government in the 1950s, as a source for water supply.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens applauded the court's decision.
"I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari, and the excellent decision by the Eleventh Circuit is the law - making clear that Lake Lanier can indeed be used for water supply for Georgia," he said in a statement. "It is my hope that we can finally put this decades-long legal dispute to rest and work together with our sister states - in meeting rooms, not courtrooms - to develop a fair and equitable water sharing plan and promote a strong and vibrant Southeastern region."
Sally Bethea of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit advocacy group that monitors the waterway which flows into and from the lake, agreed.
"We agree with Sam Olens' statement," she said in an email. "It's time to get out of the courtroom and develop a water sharing agreement that meets the needs of all users up and down the [Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint, or ACF] basin. [Her organization] has been saying this for years."
Added Gov. Nathan Deal:
"By denying a hearing of the decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the tri-state water case, the nation's highest court has affirmed that drinking water was always an authorized use of Lake Lanier... We felt confident in the firm grounding of the Eleventh Circuit ruling. We can now move forward with this issue behind us, have the governors work together and come to a long-term agreement that will provide for the water needs of all three states."
Confused about the history of the tri-state water war? The Atlanta Regional Commission has a decent timeline of events. (Keep in mind that the mega-planning agency has long opined that the state had the right to tap Lake Lanier.)
We're waiting to hear from other folks, including eco advocates. More to come.
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