Atlanta TV station WXIA has interviewed Gov. Bill Haslam about Georgia’s push to revise its border with Tennessee. An excerpt: Not surprisingly, Haslam says he likes the status quo – and has only a passing interest in Georgia’s claim to a piece of the Tennessee River.
“We’re very satisfied with the situation the way it is now for, good reason,” Haslam said.
Q: Do you think Georgia has any busines accessing the Tennessee river?
Halsam: “Well, that’s for somebody beyond my capacity. Ask that to an engineer or somebody who can answer that.”
Q: Well, surveyors say that they do.
A: Yeah. Again, it’s not an issue I spend a whole lot of time focused on.
Haslam says he’s aware that the Georgia legislature passed a resolution calling for the state to sue Tennessee to change the state line to the 35th parallel-if Georgia can’t access the river.
The resolution proposes, as a potential compromise, that Tennessee cede a one-square-mile piece of land that would give Georgia geographical access to the Tennessee River and Nickajack Lake.
This week, Georgia governor Nathan Deal said he would approach Haslam at a conference of Republican governors about negotiations.
“I think there is an opportunity to at least have a civil discussion about that issue,” Deal said.
— Hat tip: TNReport, which has a video of the TV station making its video.
News release from Sen. Bob Corker:
WASHINGTON – In remarks on the Senate floor today, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., commented on an amendment he co-authored with Senator John Hoeven, D-N.D., to bolster security on the nation’s southern border as part of the immigration bill now being considered by the Senate.
“Some people have described this [amendment] as a border surge…[W]e are investing resources and securing our border [in ways] that have never been [done] before: doubling the border patrol, $3.2 billion worth of the technology that we took from the chief of the border patrol, the technology that he needs to have 100 percent awareness and to secure our border, dealing with the [entry]/exit program, dealing with e-verify so that all of these things are in place,” Corker said on the Senate floor.
“I do think the American people have asked us if we pass an immigration bill off the Senate floor to do everything that we can to ensure that we have secured the border. That’s what people in Tennessee have asked for…I think that’s what this amendment does,” Corker added. “I want to thank all involved in crafting an amendment that I think tries to deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secure our border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the needs of a growing economy – the biggest economy in the world – that focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully will put this debate behind us.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers gave rousing applause to welcome a Georgia senator who opposed a resolution calling for redrawing the border between the two states.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville introduced Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, Ga., during a floor session on Wednesday.
Norris joked that Mullis was not in exile because of his position on the Georgia-Tennessee border dispute.
Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga gave Mullis a signed coffee cup of water to take back to Atlanta.
Georgia lawmakers argue that an 1818 survey misplaced what should have been the state line at 35th parallel. If Tennessee’s southern border stretched along the parallel, Georgia could take water from the Tennessee River.
The resolution calls for Georgia’s attorney general to sue if negotiations with Tennessee fail.
Gov. Bill Haslam and TVA’s new CEO, Bill Johnson, are indicating that Georgia’s legislative effort to move the state border and divert Tennessee River water to Atlanta is little more than time-consuming fighting words,according to the Chattanooga TFP. Haslam, through a spokesman, said he has no interest in going along with Georgia’s latest attempt to get access to the mighty river to help slake the Peach State’s thirst for water. Georgia lawmakers are threatening to march into the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the nearly 200-year disputed state boundary issue if Tennessee won’t grant access to the river in Marion County.
“The governor will continue to protect the interests and resources of Tennessee,” Haslam spokesman David Smith said via email.
One Tennessee lawmaker, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, was more strident.
“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 the Chattanooga Republican. “We’re not going to pass a law to give them water.”
From the Chattanooga TFP:
Despite nine previous resolutions that have left a 200-year-old border dispute unresolved, Georgia lawmakers want Tennessee to know this time they mean business.
In a vote Monday, Georgia senators approved House Resolution 4 with one key change: If Tennessee declines to settle, the dispute will be handed over to the attorney general, who will take Tennessee before the Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all.
“I would hope that the Tennessee House and Senate would realize that one, we’re serious,” said Georgia state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, “and two, there’s no reason we shouldn’t resolve it and move on.”
Geisinger’s resolution in the House offers to relinquish 66.5 square miles of land that Georgia lawmakers claim is rightfully theirs in return for a 1.5-mile strip that would give them access to the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake. The Peach State could build a pipeline to deliver up to 1 billion gallons of water a day to thirsty Atlanta and other parts of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
“This resolution is a good-faith offer to settle the long-standing dispute,” said Brad Carver, an attorney for the Atlanta firm Hall Booth Smith.
Tennessee lawmakers have said Georgia has no right to Tennessee water and that they will not agree to such a resolution.
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers are once more asking to redraw the state’s northern border in the hope of getting water from the Tennessee River.
The House of Representatives voted 171-2 on Tuesday to adopt a resolution seeking from Tennessee a strip of land leading to the river. The offer will be sent to Tennessee officials, who have laughed off similar ideas in the past.
Georgia lawmakers argue that a flawed 1818 survey misplaced the 35th parallel. If Tennessee’s southern border stretched along the parallel, as Congress decreed in 1796, Georgia could take water from the Tennessee River. No one much cared in modern times until a water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida threatened metro Atlanta’s water supply.
“It’s basically our water — at least it was when it was on our land,” said Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who sponsored the resolution.
Under his plan, Georgia would accept the current border with the exception of a slice of land allowing for access to the Tennessee River. Tennessee leaders have so far been dismissive of the latest request.
A border change would likely require Congressional action or a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Georgia lawmakers have debated similar requests in previous years. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue considered pursuing a lawsuit seeking to redraw the border after a federal judge ruled that Atlanta had little right to take water from the Chattahoochee River, its main water supply. That ruling has since been overturned.
Georgia leaders have floated the idea in various forms over the years. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, suggesting expanding road and rail links to Chattanooga, Tenn., in return for water access. Attorney General Sam Olens backed boosting the role of Chattanooga’s airport in return for a pipe carrying Tennessee River water to Georgia.