Category: Environment

Is the Supreme Court Capable of Valuing the Environment?

The Supreme Court issue an opinion in the Water Wars case between Georgia and Florida as early as May 21st. When the two states made their arguments in January, several justices appeared sympathetic to Florida. Meanwhile, in a brief on the matter, Atlanta asserted that the Supreme Court shouldn’t even attempt to help Florida because the benefits of the environment are often too vague to be valued.

Graphing Georgia’s Weather and Climate

While Atlanta is experiencing a wetter-than-average year, northern Georgia is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions. This is just one example of how conditions in one part of the state may not be indicative of the larger local or regional climate. The new SustainAtlanta Weather+Climate page is dedicated to giving readers a better understanding of how the day-to-day weather fits into the overall regional climate picture.

Will Atlanta Run Out of Water? The US Supreme Court is Set to Decide

A reliable and predictable source of drinking water is a major problem for metro Atlanta. So much so that we’ve engaged in a costly 20-plus year legal battle with states that, on paper, we should get along with swimmingly. And now, like bickering school-aged siblings, we’re pleading to our neutral third-party parents to settle the dispute. And like parents of bickering school-aged siblings, the United States Supreme Court will likely create an inadequate resolution for all parties.

The Fire-Ravaged West Faces the Same Land Use Issues as the Water-Starved Southeast

Politically the mountain west states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Utah) are very similar to southeastern states. Both place a high emphasis on local land use control and generally prefer a more libertarian approach to such regulation. But as population increases in both areas of the country, un-checked development is fueling the growth and severity of wildfires and straining the ability of rivers to provide adequate water supplies. Many states in the southeast, including Georgia and Florida, have already recognized the need for state-wide regulations that cross local jurisdictional borders and now Colorado seems to be coming to the same realization. The next steps in the southeast are to pressure other states to adopt state-wide regulations and to foster the growth of regional, inter-state regulations and guidelines.

Does Georgia Own Your Marshlands? Yep, Unless it or the King of England Gave it to You

While the Supreme Court cleared the way for Mapache to challenge title, it still must produce legible documents that clearly show the marshlands and tidelands were conveyed by the Crown. Back in 2006, the Georgia Supreme Court heard a similar case. In Black v. Floyd, the judgement of the lower court was affirmed by the Supreme Court because the landowners could not clearly show the property was conveyed by the crown. They had the documents, but they were so illegible that as a matter of law the court was able to rule for the State of Georgia. The landowners stated that the documents instructed the grantee to drain swamp and marsh “if any such contain herein.” The Court, though, said that even if the documents did say that, it wouldn’t be enough to show that the Crown clearly intended to convey tidewaters.