**Updated: Gov. Kemp and U.S. Senators Respond to Water Litigation Ruling

Governor Brian P. Kemp issued the following statement in response to Special Master Paul Kelly’s ruling in Georgia’s water litigation:

“We greatly appreciate Special Master Kelly’s recognition of Georgia’s strong, evidence-based case in this litigation,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to be good stewards of water resources in every corner of our state, and we hope that this issue will reach a final conclusion soon.”

Excerpt from Special Master Kelly’s ruling:

“Given my factual findings, I recommend denying Florida’s request for a decree because it has not proved the elements necessary to obtain relief. Florida has pointed to harm in the oyster fishery collapse, but I do not find that Georgia caused that harm by clear and convincing evidence. Next, although Georgia’s use of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers has increased since the 1970s, Georgia’s use is not unreasonable or inequitable. Last, I have determined that the benefits of an apportionment would not substantially outweigh the harm that might result. This is especially true given that the Army Corps’ reservoir operations on the Chattahoochee River would prevent most streamflow increases from reaching Florida during the times when more streamflow is needed to alleviate Florida’s alleged harms.”

Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue issued a joint statement:

“Georgia has consistently focused on conservation efforts to ensure that we are good stewards of our water resources. Today’s recommendation reaffirms the evidence-based argument presented to Special Master Kelly last month by the state’s attorneys, and we look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a decision that proves the merits of Georgia’s position in this case soon.”

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