Attorneys Seth Waxman, Chris Landau and Craig Primis will lead Georgia’s litigation team, according to a statement from Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens.
The legal team will also include Georgia attorneys Bruce Brown, Todd Silliman and John Allen.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking the U.S. Supreme Court to divvy up water rights in the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola rivers. The river system serves Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Environmental officials in Florida say metro Atlanta uses too much water, leaving too little for downstream communities, business and wildlife and killing off Florida’s valuable oyster fishery. Scott filed the lawsuit after federal officials declared a fishery disaster for oystermen on the Gulf Coast. Oysters need a mix of fresh and salt water in order to thrive.
“Georgia has refused to fairly share the waters that flow between our two states, so to stop Georgia’s unmitigated consumption of water we have brought the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court,” Scott said at the time.
Water officials in metro Atlanta say the region’s water usage is dropping. They argue that overfishing combined with natural cycles contributed to the oyster die-off, not metro Atlanta’s water consumption.
“It is time for Florida to stop playing politics and start negotiating in good faith,” Deal said.