Florida is suing Georgia: What you are witnessing is real. The participants are not actors. They are states with a case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The suit, which was filed by Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, is over Georgia's consumption of freshwater in a river system that serves Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
The dispute between Florida and Georgia over how much water each can take from the Appalachacola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin has apparently been going on for at least two decades.
But Scott filed the lawsuit Tuesday with the news that the northwest Florida oyster industry is taking a serious beating, and a day after federal officials declared a fishery disaster for oystermen in the Gulf Coast.
In a news release, Scott says Georgia's overuse of water is a threat to the very existence of Apalachicola Bay:
"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. Georgia's over-consumption of water threatens the existence of Apalachicola Bay and the future economic development of the region."
Scott had been planning to file the lawsuit since August.
The lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to force Georgia to share water that flows downstream from Georgia into Alabama and Florida. Oysters need a good mix of fresh- and saltwater to survive.
But Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has vowed to duke it out, if need be.
"We will not roll over. If Florida wants to fight, we'll fight," Deal told the media.
There's no telling where this thing will go. But kudos to Scott for gunning for Georgia for that water and taking the fight to the highest court.
Although we do wish that both parties would agree to dismiss their court case and have their dispute settled on The People's Court.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.