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Monday, March 7, 2011 - 4:49am

Cross-State Port Talks To Continue

South Carolina representatives will be at the table Tuesday when a bi-state committee meets to work on the Jasper Ocean Terminal.

Georgia and South Carolina are supposed to be working together to build a new seaport that straddles both states along the Savannah River in Jasper County, South Carolina.

But cross-state relations have been strained recently.

Last month, South Carolina threatened to pull out of talks.

Officials there said that Georgia's Savannah Harbor Expansion Project -- or SHEP -- was a threat to the proposed jointly-run seaport just downriver.

"There are concerning issues with the SHEP and its impact on the Jasper Ocean Terminal in three-key areas: navigation, environmental and economic," said Byron Miller, the spokesman for the South Carolina State Ports Authority. "It's important that we get clarity on those issues because those have great impact on how or if Jasper can happen."

South Carolina officials said that it makes no sense to meet until the issues were addressed, but they appear to have changed their minds.

Several said last week that they would be attending a meeting scheduled for Tuesday in Savannah, but declined to say anything further.

Georgia officials maintain that the Savannah project will help the proposed jointly-run Jasper seaport.

Boosters of the Jasper County project say that a new seaport will benefit both states when the ports of Savannah and Charleston exhaust their capacity.