State water war legal bill over $6 million

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ATLANTA - The Georgia attorney general's office says the state has spent more than $6 million for outside attorneys to fight a water war with bordering states.

Russ Willard, spokesman for Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said Tuesday the state has paid $6.7 million to McKenna Long & Aldridge, an Atlanta firm that has handled the litigation over water in Lake Lanier since 1996. Add to that the $5 million the Atlanta Regional Commission has spent on the long-running court battle with Florida and Alabama over the water.

A federal judge ruled two weeks ago that Atlanta has been using water illegally from the lake, which is just north of the city. The fight started with a lawsuit filed by Alabama in 1990. Florida joined later.

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