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Legal experts: Long battle likely if Florida takes water fight to Supreme Court

By Bruce Ritchie

Florida may be pursuing its only legal course by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide its water dispute with Georgia, but that route still could be slow and costly, legal experts say.

Gov. Rick Scott announced in Apalachicola last week that the state will file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court to halt what he calls Georgia's "unchecked and growing" water consumption. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal answered that Scott's announcement was political and Florida had failed to respond to his state's proposed comprehensive framework for a water agreement.

Florida and Alabama already had sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in federal court over the agency's operation of federal dams on the Chattahoochee River. The new legal route announced by Scott would involve asking the Supreme Court directly to decide an equitable allocation of water among Alabama, Florida and Georgia.