Deal bolsters state team in preparation for Supreme Court water case

December 11, 2014

Governor establishes office for interagency coordination and management for water resources

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the establishment of an office for interagency coordination and management of water resources. Deal has appointed Judson H. Turner, Director of the state’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD), to head the new office. Turner will also remain the EPD Director. 

“The U.S. Supreme Court case filed by Florida against Georgia over the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Basin has placed significant new demands on state agencies involved in these matters,” said Deal. “Add to this the renewed litigation against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over additional water supply from Lake Allatoona, and the workload requires the state to take additional steps to assure we have the right staff in place. Jud is a subject matter expert with years of experience in the water wars; he is the right person to lead this effort, a task incredibly important to the well-being of our state’s people and its economy.”

Turner will work closely with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, his legal team and multiple Special Assistant Attorneys General on matters related to case management of this complex litigation. John Allen, of Kazmarek, Mowery, Cloud & Laseter LLP, will join Turner as the deputy for the new office. Allen has long served the state as counsel in the tri-state litigation. Turner and Allen will hold appointments as Special Executive Counsels for water and Allen will maintain his appointment from the Attorney General as Special Assistant Attorney General. 

In addition to litigation coordination and support, Turner will be responsible for the oversight and management of the state’s multipronged efforts to increase water supply while also developing and implementing policies for sustainable and reasonable use of water resources. This effort will involve multiple state agencies, state and regional authorities and local governments, and it will require coordination among various local stakeholders and constituencies. In support of this effort, Russ Pennington, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at EPD, will serve as director of the Governor’s Water Supply Program. Pennington will work with Turner and the director of the Environmental Finance Authority, Kevin Clark, to implement and manage critical state-funded water supply projects and to assist in the coordination of select water supply initiatives of state and regional importance.

Mary Walker, assistant director of EPD, will assume the role of assistant director/chief operating officer and Trip Addison will join the senior team at EPD as assistant director. Addison recently served as deputy director at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and formerly served as Deal’s policy adviser for natural resources and the environment.   

Judson H. Turner

Turner has served as the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources since January 2012. Turner was former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s executive counsel and served as the governor’s legal representative in negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service regarding drought operations at the federal reservoirs of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) river basins. Turner also served both Perdue and Deal as special executive counsel in negotiations between the states of Alabama, Georgia and Florida related to the ACF and ACT basins and on matters involving Georgia’s other shared river basins. Turner began his legal practice at Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP, in Birmingham, where he had a general commercial litigation practice. Turner received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors in political science and economics. An Albany native, he and his wife, Courtney, live in Griffin with their two children. 

John C. Allen

Allen is Of Counsel with the environmental law firm of Kazmarek Mowrey Cloud Laseter LLP, where he focuses his practice on environmental litigation and state and federal public utility law. Prior to coming to KMCL, Allen worked for the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge. Allen has served as counsel for the state of Georgia for more than nine years, representing the state in litigation, interstate negotiations and regulatory matters related to the disputes among Georgia, Alabama, Florida and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning operation of federal reservoirs in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basins, as well as in litigation challenging effect of federal reservoirs on federally protected species. Allen is a graduate of the Georgia State College of Law and a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering. John lives in Sharpsburg with his wife, Torie, and their three daughters.

L. Russell Pennington, P.E.

Pennington has served as the director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) since 2012. Prior to joining EPD, he was an associate vice president and water business group manager at HDR Engineering. He was appointed by Deal to the State Licensing Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Additionally he serves on the UGA Environmental Engineering Advisory Board and is a member of the Water Environment Federation’s Government Affairs Committee, Georgia Association of Water Professionals, Georgia Rural Water and Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Pennington earned a bachelor’s in Biological Engineering and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Kelli, have two children. They reside in Brookhaven.

Mary Salmon Walker

Walker is currently assistant director at EPD, having previously served as the agency’s CFO. She came to EPD in May 2012 from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget where she coordinated policy and budget for the state’s natural resources and economic development agencies, coordinated budget issues for the state’s education agencies and public pension funds and oversaw the state’s use of federal stimulus funding. Walker’s public service, which began in 1997, also included work with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. She has a master’s of Public Administration from the University of Georgia and an undergraduate degree from Tulane University. Mary and her husband, Jon, reside in Tucker with their two children.  

Trip Addison

Addison is the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. He served as a policy adviser to Deal in the areas of natural resources, tax, labor and economic development, and in 2012, he became the deputy director of OPB. He serves as the chairman of the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council and a member of the Georgia Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. He was honored as a member of the 2014 class of Georgia Southern University’s 40 Under 40. Addison is a member of the Georgia Southern University College of Business Young Alumni Board. He holds a B.S. in construction management and master’s of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. He and his wife, Ashley, are avid hunters and spend their free time outdoors. They reside in Atlanta and attend Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.