BREAKING NEWS UPDATE
The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed arguments in a dispute over water between North Carolina and South Carolina. The court said Monday the delay is due to an illness in the family of a lawyer who was scheduled to argue the case. The court has not set a new date for arguments.
The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments Monday from attorneys representing the state of South Carolina in the lawsuit against the state of North Carolina concerning the extraction of water from the Catawba River that flows from North Carolina into South Carolina. The arguments are centered on whether or not Duke Energy, the city of Charlotte and the Catawba River Water Supply Project should be allowed to intervene in the case on the side of North Carolina. The appointed special master in the case recommended months ago that the Court allow the intervenors to enter the case. When South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster objected to the recommendation, the hearing on the question was granted.
“They should not be allowed in because their interests, their positions, their points can all be made by the sovereign state of North Carolina which is making the points for everybody else in North Carolina including them and that we are making all the points for everyone in South Carolina including businesses large and small and all the people concerned.”
McMaster says the Environmental Management Commission of North Carolina has permitted 62 million gallons of water a day to be drawn out of the Catawba River and that water is currently being extracted and transferred to an inner basin for use by various entities in the state of North Carolina. McMaster adds that North Carolina had granted permission for another 10 million gallons to be extracted from the Catawba but that action has been suspended since his office brought the lawsuit against North Carolina.
McMaster says allowing the intervenors in the case will only extend the case and make it more costly for both states. In fact, McMaster says the intervenors have already held up the progress of the proceedings. “It will not be brought up soon because this question of intervention by these three additional parties has brought us almost to a standstill. We have had to wait for months in order to have this question resolved. Until this question is resolved, the rest of the case can’t move forward.’
McMaster says when the case is ultimately heard it will go a long way toward deciding the future of the state of South Carolina. “If the state of North Carolina is able to keep doing as they’vebeen doing and that is making decisions about their water usage and having a free hand at taking whatever they want out of rivers that flow through North Carolina into South Carolina, that is if they can deprive us of water at will with no voice by us, which they can do now, then Georgia can do the same thing with the Savannah River and we will be in deep, deep trouble.”