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Georgia’s Kemp transfers millions for water wars fight, public safety

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K(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has transferred more than $8.9 million from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to several state agencies, including millions for public safety and a decades-long fight over water.

As part of the allocation, Kemp, a Republican, is sending $5.7 million to cover costs — including counsel fees and litigation expenses — stemming from a long-standing dispute over water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River basins.

Georgia has spent millions of dollars on the 30-year-long “tri-state water wars” involving Alabama and Florida. The fight dates to 1990 when Alabama sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop it from pulling additional water from Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake for metro Atlanta.

A Kemp spokesman did not respond to a Friday request for details on how much the state has spent on the lawsuit.

The governor also allocated more than $2 million to the Georgia Department of Public Safety “to cover costs associated with the crime suppression and security efforts.”

The order also sends $186,718 to the Georgia Department of Community Supervision for “costs associated with crime suppression efforts” and $102,388 to the Georgia Department of Defense for “costs associated with civil unrest response efforts.”

Under the unannounced executive order, the Georgia Department of Revenue receives $836,019 to cover costs to implement Senate Bill 56 and the state’s contribution to the Employee’s Retirement System of Georgia for eligible local tax officials.

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