Statement from Tania Galloni, Earthjustice attorney who filed a separate, ongoing lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation and the Apalachicola Riverkeeper:
The Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers flow through Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
“The ruling is great news for Florida’s environment and wildlife. We’re confident that Florida will be able to meet the Supreme Court’s test to show that reining in Georgia’s wasteful water consumption upstream will provide much needed freshwater to Florida downstream.
“The lawsuit before the Supreme Court focuses on the Flint River in Georgia. We filed a separate lawsuit last year that addresses the Chattahoochee River, which joins with the Flint to become the Apalachicola River in Florida. The Army Corps of Engineers manages much of the water flow from the Chattahoochee River to the Apalachicola River with six dams along the Chattahoochee. The Army Corps of Engineers violated several environmental laws when it updated the plan to manage the river system and failed to perform an adequate environmental analysis of its actions as it’s required to do by federal law.
“Cutting back the water that flows downstream from Georgia into Florida has had devastating impacts on the Apalachicola River ecosystem, one of the six ‘biodiversity hotspots’ in the U.S. The lack of adequate freshwater flows has starved fish and shrimp populations, and led to the loss of more than 4.3 million trees. Many people lost their jobs after the population of Apalachicola Bay oysters crashed because the river wasn’t feeding enough freshwater into the area. At one time, the Apalachicola Bay provided 90% of Florida’s oysters and 10% of the whole country’s supply. A lack of freshwater flowing into the river jeopardizes the many species that live in the basin including the Florida black bear, the threatened West Indian Manatee and dozens of federally threatened or endangered species.”