You can read my post about Gov. Perdue's meeting with members of Georgia's Congressional delegation, to which Barton refers.
Thanks to Dorian Roffe-Hammond for sending me this item.
If you think I have taken a break from Las Vegas and Pat Mulroy, read on.
Talk about wind power.
If some Georgia officials could inhale as hard as they blow when it comes to metro Atlanta's water woes, the Atlantic Ocean would be lapping at Decatur.
Gov. Sonny Perdue and other Georgia officials expended a considerable amount of energy this week, suggesting there might be a national solution to Atlanta's water shortage problem - a nationwide policy that allows municipalities to stick their straws into all federally managed reservoirs and drink to their heart's content.
"There are some things Congress must address and some things that the state must address," the governor told reporters Monday at the Governor's Mansion after meeting with Georgia's two U.S. senators and eight of the state's 13 congressmen.
To which any reasonable lawmaker in Washington should respond, "You first."
It's true that Congress should take a closer look at how water is used across the country. It's a matter of sound public policy. Large river basins drain across state lines. When water gets tight - for example, during a drought of historic proportions - states that are upriver (in this case, Georgia) enjoy a home field advantage over those downstream (Alabama and Florida).
The feds should set clear ground rules. Then federal judges won't have to play referee when Mother Nature shuts off the faucet.
But spare the statewide pity party for metro Atlanta.
While it's torture to watch the governor's performance on this issue, Atlanta has been waterboarding itself for decades. And many have been drinking up every minute of it.
Experts have warned that Atlanta, which has no ground water and a relative trickle of surface water from the Chattahootchee River, couldn't sustain the explosive growth that saw a doubling of its population in the last 20 years.
Yet these sane voices were drowned out by developers, compliant bureaucrats and civic boosters who would shame P.T. Barnum.
Consequently, a progressive city that once was rightly proud of being "too busy to hate" has morphed into a near-ungovernable megapolis of more than 5 million people, which extends across a whopping 28 counties and is choked by murderous traffic ringing a crime-plagued core.
Yes, fortunes have been made. Thousands upon thousands of jobs have been created, and the quality of life in some areas is quite good.
But the day of reckoning has arrived, thanks to a federal judge who ruled last month that Georgia was illegally withdrawing growth sustaining water from North Georgia's Lake Lanier reservoir.
The new slogan for the Atlanta region should be, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up."
Except it's not the duty of Washington to lift this glutton from the floor. Instead, that's up to Georgia.
The state's leaders must lead, not enable. They must adopt policies that steer people to where the water exists, not the other way around. They must to do a better job of spreading limited public resources around the state and stop feeding a monster that will only grow and acquire a larger appetite.
It won't be easy. It means saying "no" to powerful interests and "yes" to regions with less clout.
That's why Perdue shouldn't be holding strategy sessions at the mansion to figure out how to motivate Congress. He should schedule an intervention. Get metro Atlanta to kick an unhealthy growth habit that threatens an entire state.
As I read this, I wondered if any newspaper in Nevada outside (or inside, for that matter) the Las Vegas metropolitan area had opined in this manner. Editorial writers have railed against SNWA's 'water grab' but I wonder if any have urged such a brake on growth. My sense is that they have not, simply because I suspect that Las Vegas means more to the Nevada economy than Atlanta does to the Georgia economy. Without Las Vegas and the revenues it generates, Nevadans might have to start paying state income taxes.
It's worth noting that the Las Vegas metro area (1.9M) is about 73% of Nevada's population (2.6M), whereas metro Atlanta (5.6M) is about 58% of Georgia's (9.7M) population.
Atlanta has assumed the mantle of the '800 pound gorilla' (albeit a sick gorilla) of Southeastern water, just as Las Vegas has that well-deserved reputation in the Southwest. The big difference is that metro Las Vegas has options and the money to pursue them, whereas metro Atlanta is more a feckless, bumbling giant, unable to fend for itself any longer. As Barton says, its slogan is "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up."
They could use Pat Mulroy. Really.
"I've always liked Atlanta. And not just for the strip clubs, but the shopping and the food." -- Jon Stewart