Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) declared a state of emergency in 85 of the state’s 159 counties due at least in part to anger at endangered-species protections for critters downstream that the governor says take up too much water. The governor asked President Bush to issue a federal disaster declaration that would provide low-interest loans to help businesses hurt by the drought, make federal funds available to state and local governments, and allow less water to be released downstream from the Atlanta area’s main water source, Lake Lanier. The state’s lawmakers and many of its officials have made no secret they blame the imperiled species of mussels and sturgeon downstream and the federal agencies charged with keeping the water flowing for exacerbating the drought. “If the [Army Corps of Engineers] and the Fish and Wildlife Service do not act now, I will hold them fully responsible for endangering the people of Georgia,” said Perdue. “Any harm that comes to humans is 100 percent on their hands.”

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