Georgia eyes Tennessee River

February 20, 2008

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia lawmakers took a step today toward moving the state line and tapping into the Tennessee River to relieve drought conditions.

The Senate unanimously approved a resolution asserting that a flawed 1818 survey mistakenly placed Georgia's northern line just short of the river. The measure also calls for the governor to establish a commission to sort out the dispute.

The state House later voted 136-26 to pass a similar plan, which could soon go to Governor Perdue.

The legislation alone can't move the state line -- and it doesn't necessarily seek to do so. Instead, it claims the current boundaries are drawn wrong, and that Georgia and Congress never agreed upon them.

Short of a legal challenge, though, any likely border change would likely require an agreement between Congress and the states. And that's a long-shot prospect scoffed at by Tennessee officials.

An adviser to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen today called the proposal "absurd," and state Representative Gerald McCormick suggested it was a "ridiculous waste of taxpayer money."

McCormick, a Republican from Chattanooga, called the Georgia legislators backing the plan "idiots" and said he is embarrassed to see the proposal coming from Republicans.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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