Judge Grants Governors’ Request to Keep Water Negotiations Secret

At the request of Georgia, Florida and Alabama, Federal District Court Judge Paul Magnuson entered an order to keep the tri-state water negotiations secret saying that “a settlement of such a complicated and inflammatory case such as this can occur only if some negotiations, whether among all parties or among only some of the parties, are conducted privately.”

Critics object to the secrecy.

“We actually keep asking ourselves ‘What is it that has got to be concealed here?'” said Sally Bethea, executive director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a Georgia water protection group.

“After 20 years, don’t we all basically know the facts? Is this confidentiality arrangement really something just to serve as cover for political leaders — the governors? Bottom line, we think secrecy is not in the best interest of all the people in the three states who rely on these river systems.”

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