The year is 1818 and surveyors in the southern United States are trying to figure out where the 35th parallel is. The latitude is to be Georgia's northern border, although the equipment used to draw the line — a marine sexton — is imprecise. They get it wrong in the southernly direction by a mile.
Flash forward to 2018. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is now considering creating a committee to discuss reclaiming the land from Tennessee and North Carolina that was lost when those early geographers messed up, Fox News reports. Why care so much bout a 200-year-old mistake? Because in that mile-wide margin of error is the Tennessee River, leaving the city of Atlanta dependent instead on Lake Lanier, which has, over the years, reached threateningly low levels.
"As metro Atlanta [grows], as Georgia grows, as the South grows, we have a greater dependency on water," said Georgia state Rep. Marc Morris (R). He noted that 1.6 billion gallons of water flow out of northern Georgia into the Tennessee River daily.
Tennessee, on the other hand, is not amused (this isn't exactly the first time the issue has come up). "Atlanta should've thought about their growth plan years ago and they haven't," said Tennessee state Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R).
In order for the border to be moved, the states would have to agree; so far, it's not looking likely. If that happened, the idea would still have to go to Congress for ratification. Otherwise, the Supreme Court could get involved, although even Georgia lawmakers want to avoid that — as do many Georgians living in the sliver of land up for debate.
"It's something you're kind of like, 'It isn't going to happen,'" said one such resident, Glen Meadows. "That's just not going to happen. Surely we can figure out a way to resolve this." Read more about the dispute at Fox News.