The special master overseeing Florida's water wars lawsuit against Georgia has been dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, a federal judge will oversee proceedings in the litigation.
The high court issued the order replacing Ralph Lancaster of Maine with Paul Kelly of New Mexico on Thursday.
The court did not say why the decision was made.
The case, which involves use of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin (including the water supply in Lake Lanier), has twice been sent back to the special master to review. Florida contends Georgia uses more than its fair share of water in the basin for consumption purposes, which causes damage to Florida's oyster industry. Georgia argues allowing more water to flow into Florida's Apalachicola Bay will damage crops in the southern part of the state that rely on water supply in the basin.
It's unclear if the change in oversight of the case will further delay a final decision in the lawsuit.
The suit was placed on the SCOTUS docket in October 2013, although the water dispute between Georgia, Florida - and sometimes Alabama - has gone on for decades.
Follow this link for a timeline of the lawsuit.