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Tennessee Governor rejects Georgia's efforts to access the Tennessee River

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March 31, 2013


By Matthew Schmidgall

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Governor Bill Haslam has announced through a spokesman that he has no intention of cooperating with Georgia's latest efforts to gain access to the Tennessee River. "The governor will continue to protect the interests and resources of Tennessee," Haslam spokesman David Smith said via email.[1] This comes following the passage of a two page resolution by the Georgia State Legislature that it, and not Tennessee is the owner of a small sliver of the Tennessee River at Nickajack bay.[2][3]

This dispute dates back to the 1818 demarcation of the border between the two states. Georgia claims that during the survey those reponsible for staking out the border erroneously marked a line that is a mile south of its intended position, the 35th parallel. This error was discovered some time later, but by that point the marked border had been in use so long that it was decided no to change it. Since that point Georgia has attempted on a number of occasions to complete the process that would grant them, among other things, access to the Tennessee River and its water. However, the process is lengthy and requires the support and approval of not just georgia, but Tennessee and Congress as well. As the Tennessee legislature is adverse to aiding Georgia's efforts in this, Georgia's latest attempt has included a threat of action before the Supreme Court to move things along. This threat however has had little effect on Tennessee's State Legislature "Well, they've threatened to take us to court, so I guess we'll let the AG's [attorney general] office take care of it and go to court with them," said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick. "We're not going to pass a law to give them water."[4]


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