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Re: greenyes-d Digest V01 #107
Could you make an announcement for the Coosa River Basin Initiative, Alabama Rivers Alliance, and
the Weiss Lake Improvement Association?
Mitch Lawson
CRBI Coordinator

Please Attend a Public Information Meeting and Press
Event Regarding the Interstate Water Negotiations In
the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin

Hosted by The Alabama Rivers Alliance

April 12, 2001
Montgomery, Alabama

     10:00 AM     Public Information Meeting
     Guest House Inn Hotel and Suites
     120 Madison Avenue
     Montgomery, AL 36104

          Mr. Edward Hosp, esq.
          Legal Advisor to Governor Don Siegelman

          Dr. David Bayne, Aquatic Ecologist
          Auburn University

          Mr. Brad McLane, Executive Director
          Alabama Rivers Alliance

     12:00 PM Press Event
     Alabama State Capitol
      Front Steps

     1:00 PM Public Information Meeting, Continued...
     Guest House Inn Hotel and Suites
     Following the press event we will return to the Guest House

Directions to Guest House Inn

     >From I-65 S., Exit 172, Clay Street, left on Herron St. which becomes Madison
     >From I-65 N., Exit 127, Herron Street, merge to right lande & follow Herron which
     becomes Madison Ave.
     >From I-85 S., Exit (1), Union Street, stay on Service Rd. turn right on Perry St., right on
     Madison Ave.

For More Information
Contact The Alabama Rivers Alliance.

Explanation of Water Negotiations...

Status of the Water Negotiations
The States of Alabama and Georgia have tentatively reached agreement on a “water allocation
formula” for the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT)  River Basin. If signed, this agreement will
determine the amount of water each state may use from the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River
Basin over the next 30 years.

Alabama Rivers Alliance Concerns
While recognizing the strengths of Alabama’s proposal, as well as the value of the states reaching
agreement in this dispute, the Alabama Rivers Alliance remains concerned that the proposal on
the table is — in many respects — fatally flawed. In fact, we believe that the proposal is flawed
to the extent that it does not ensure the protection of the environment and the public interest of
the citizens of the ACT River Basin.

The proposal on the table could be likened to a double-edged sword. On the one hand, an
imperfect agreement in the water negotiations is far better than no agreement at all. If Alabama
cannot reach agreement with Georgia, we will have nothing to protect us from Georgia’s water
consumption unless and until Alabama prevails in litigation against Georgia before the US
Supreme Court. The Alabama proposal does create a mandate for better water use
management, requires Georgia to maintain some minimum flows on the Coosa River under most
conditions, requires minimum flows from new dams, and places a limit on how much water
metro-Atlanta can interbasin transfer from the Coosa River Basin to the Chattahoochee Basin.

On the other hand, certain sections of the proposal concern us greatly. For example, while the
proposal does place a limit on interbasin transfers from the Coosa River Basin in Georgia,
metro-Atlanta can more than double the amount of water it currently interbasin transfers from the
Coosa Basin before reaching that limit.  The proposal also contains a suspension provision and
other language which we believe Georgia could misuse in order to shirk its responsibilities under
this agreement. Furthermore, some provisions of the proposal are simply unclear.

What We Are Asking
In order to address our concerns, the Alabama Rivers Alliance, along with the thirty-nine other
members of the Tristate Conservation Coalition, are asking Governor Don Siegelman to slow
down the process and take time to answer our questions and concerns, continuing to negotiate
with Georgia as necessary. At a minimum, we are asking Governor Siegelman and his
negotiators to do the following:

     · Protect Water Quality.  The impacts of water usage under this agreement on
     water quality have not been adequately addressed, and we are particularly
     concerned about the potential water quality impacts of increased interbasin
     transfers in the Coosa River Basin. We ask Governor Don Siegelman to not sign
     any agreement until its potential impacts on water quality have been assessed.
     · Make Certain Alabama has a “way out”.  In the event that unacceptable
     adverse environmental impacts occur in the future as a result of this agreement,
     Alabama must have a way out of this agreement. The current agreement does not
     clearly provide Alabama with such an “escape clause.”
     · Close the “Loopholes” in the agreement. The state of Georgia must commit to
     providing certain minimum flows downstream to Alabama at all times, even during a
     severe drought. Furthermore, Georgia should not be able to “suspend” this
     agreement without Alabama’s consent.
     · Create Incentives for Water Conservation. The agreement should require the
     states to actively conserve water, making future water allocation contingent, in part,
     upon each states’ success in the area of water conservation.
     · Review Federal Dam Operations. The proposal should require the review of the
     operation of the US Army Corps of Engineers dams in the ACT Basin, evaluating
     and recommending changes in dam operations that would benefit fisheries,
     endangered species, water quality, and the environment.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance has many other concerns regarding this agreement, some of which
can be addressed by simply adding language to clarify the proposal.

Fortunately, Governor Siegelman’s advisors and negotiators have remained receptive to our
concerns and open to our suggestions. Thus, we remain hopeful that the State of Alabama will
agree to modify its proposal in order to address our biggest concerns.

However, your participation in this meeting is critical to demonstrate strong support to Governor
Siegelman for the changes we are seeking in this agreement.

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