Florida filed a lawsuit on Tuesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce neighboring Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee River that feeds the oyster beds and fish-spawning areas of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
“Georgia has refused to fairly share the waters that flow between our two states,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement explaining his reasons for the lawsuit, the latest chapter of a decades-old feud over water rights.
“Generations of Florida families have relied upon these waters for their livelihood, but now risk losing their way of life if Georgia’s actions are not stopped,” he added.
The governor and local officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has allowed Georgia to impound water upstream in large reservoirs, at the expense of oysters beds in Apalachicola Bay.
Low water levels in the bay have resulted in higher salinity, increased disease and predators in the oyster beds.