The South Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to hear a dispute over a state water quality permit for the dredging of the Savannah River shipping channel.
The court on Monday said it would take original jurisdiction in the case, meaning the issue does not have to be heard first by lower courts.
Conservation groups last month challenged the permit the Georgia ports need to deepen the shipping channel to accommodate larger ships that will be calling when the Panama Canal is widened in two years.
The complaint says South Carolina’s Savannah River Maritime Commission, not the Department of Health and Environmental Control, is the only agency with the authority to issue the permit.
DHEC has said it would not oppose the justices hearing the case.