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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 8:00pm

Corps To Extends Harbor Comments Period

Updated: 4 years ago.
Ports on the East Coast are scrambling to deepen their harbors ahead of the Panama Canal's deepening, which is expected in 2014. A massive report shows how deepening the Savannah harbor would harm the environment. (photo Georgia Ports Authority)

The US Army Corps of Engineers could extend the public comment period for the massive project to deepen the Savannah harbor.

The Corps' District Commander says, the agency should announce an extension soon.

Environmental groups praised the move.

Will Berson of the Georgia Conservancy says, the Corps' report, showing the costs and benefits of the project, stands a foot tall and is highly technical.

"Absolutely a little more time would be helpful," says Berson. "After all, we've been at this for 12 years. I think about 12 more days is really not that big a deal."

The Corps was supposed to release its report to the public two years ago, but it got delayed.

Now, political leaders are anxious for action on the project, which the report equates with jobs.

Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson says, the report's contents have been known for many years.

"This has been analyzed enough," Johnson says. "It's time now to make a decision to move forward so that we can get to the next hurdle and that's getting a federal appropriation to fund this project."

The report details how Savannah harbor deepening would harm the area's marshes and fish species but also says those affects can be mitigated.

Until an extension is officially announced, the public has until January 10th to review the report and make comments.

The US Army Corps of Engineers official, Savannah District Commander Col. Jeff Hall, did not say how many more days the Corp would add to the comment period.

Col. Hall hinted at the extension during a public workshop that drew a large crowd of people who wanted to learn more about the report.

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