In a victory for Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sent the state’s “water war” with Georgia back to a special master for further consideration. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said Special Master Ralph Lancaster used “too strict a standard” in recommending that Florida be denied relief in its long-running claim that overconsumption of water in Georgia is damaging the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.
“Our final question is this: Would the amount of extra water that reaches the Apalachicola significantly redress the economic and ecological harm that Florida has suffered? There is evidence indicating that the answer to the question is in the affirmative. … But the Master’s Report does not explicitly answer this question. We consequently must remand the case to find the answer to this question (and others),” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. The News Service will have a full story later Wednesday.