Georgia Has Won this Round of the Water Wars

The Supreme Court has ruled 9-0 that Florida failed to show that additional water flow from Georgia would save its struggling oyster industry, thus ending one of the more infamous disputes in the Water Wars saga that has been raging since the 1990s.

The opinion, written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, notes that Florida did not prove its case that it was Georgia’s use of water that cause the ecological problems, and the state’s own actions likely contributed more to the demise of the oysters in Apalachicola Bay than Georgia’s. From the opinion:

Florida’s own documents and witnesses reveal that Florida allowed unprecedented levels of oyster harvesting in the years leading to the collapse. And the record points to other potentially relevant factors, including actions of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, multiyear droughts, and changing rainfall patterns. The precise causes of the Bay’s oyster collapse remain a subject of scientific debate, but the record evidence establishes at most that increased salinity and predation contributed to the collapse of Florida’s fisheries, not that Georgia’s overconsumption caused the increased salinity and predation.


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