Georgia Legislators to Host Bi-State Savannah River Basin Caucus Meeting

ATLANTA – Members of Georgia’s Savannah River Basin Legislative Caucus will host a bi-state Savannah River Caucus meeting on Lake Hartwell on September 18, 2013, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This event will bring Georgia and South Carolina legislators together to further the dialogue among policy makers with interests relating to the vast Savannah River Basin. There will be special focus on economic development, the preservation of shared natural resources, and general collaboration between the two states.

“Establishing dialogue with our counterparts from South Carolina as a joint effort to promote issues of common interest is paramount,” said Savannah River Caucus member Georgia State Representative Alan Powell (R-Hartwell). “We must remain a unified force in order for the caucus positions to advance. Moreover, we can support each other to reach our common goal, which is in the best interest of the region.”

Lawmakers from Georgia and South Carolina will meet at the Big Oaks Recreation Park next to the Hartwell Dam and Lake Visitor Center near Hartwell, Ga. The entire park will be closed to recreational traffic and only open to those attending this event; however, members of the media are welcome. In addition to members of the Savannah River Caucus, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will also attend the meeting.

The Wednesday morning seminar will include a joint signing of an agreement launching the next portion of the Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study. The signing ceremony will involve the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Natural Resources from Georgia and South Carolina, as well as The Nature Conservancy. This study will prepare a drought contingency plan update and will be based on the most recent “drought of record” for the basin. It will determine the minimum environmentally acceptable release at Thurmond Dam during drought conditions and the duration in which this minimum release can be sustained. The agreement also adds The Nature Conservancy as a full partner in the study – something not done in the past.

The Georgia Savannah River Basin Legislative Caucus was formed during the 2013 legislative session, and consists of approximately 30 House members and Senators whose districts are within the Savannah River Water Basin. The common goal of the Caucus is to protect and preserve Georgia’s natural resources and promote the economic development for all people who live within this region. In response to the formation of the Georgia Savannah River Basin Legislative Caucus, South Carolina also formed a similar caucus this year.

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The signing ceremony will take place at 11:45 a.m. following comments from the governors at 11:15. Media may arrive as early at 10 a.m. for the caucus and remain through the signing ceremony.

Please contact Taylor Blumenthal, (404) 463-3793, or Betsy Lynch, (404) 656-3996, for questions on the water caucus meeting.

Contact Tracy Robillard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 912-652-5450, or mobile 770-713-3901, for questions regarding the signing ceremony and its significance. Ms. Robillard will attend the caucus and ceremony.