Environmental regulators for South Carolina have denied a permit sought by the Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the river channel to Savannah's booming seaport in Georgia. Officials said in documents filed late Friday that the plan to dredge the bottom of the Savannah River would cause unacceptable harm to its water quality.
It'll be another year before the Georgia Ports Authority can expect major funding for a long-sought Savannah harbor deepening project. The agency's director says, given the project and budget timelines, the best Georgia can hope for in the budget now before Congress is $600,000 requested by President Obama. That's enough to keep the project going but far less than the $100 million needed to start construction.
Authorities say Lake Lanier's water level has dropped below 1,064, setting into motion a new management schedule by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Times of Gainesville reports the corps will release the reservoir's stored water to maintain required flows downstream in the Chattahoochee and the Apalachicola rivers.
The Commerce Department is still waiting to sign off on a plan to deepen the Savannah harbor. Georgia officials want a deeper port to serve larger ships. But the federal Marine Fisheries Service has concerns about habitat loss for endangered shortnose sturgeon. An official says, there's no timeline, but a report to make a decision is coming.
The Army Corps of Engineers has raised the drought level on three lakes on the Georgia-South Carolina state line. The Anderson Independent-Mail reported that corps officials have reduced water discharges from the three reservoirs on the Savannah River.
U-S Army Corp of Engineers officials are proposing treating Savannah drinking water with lime to offset potential effects of harbor deepening. The lime would prevent corrosion from saltier water the city expects to pump out of the Savannah River after the deepening. But using lime could have its own effects.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers officials have given their approval for an 890-acre expansion at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. The project will allow the airport to make several improvements -- including building a new taxiway and a tunnel for traffic to flow underneath a taxiway. But it also will allow Gulfstream Aerospace to expand their headquarters.
An official with the US Army Corp of Engineers says, it now will be at least 2016 before the Savannah harbor deepening can be completed. And the Corp's Savannah District Commander, Colonel Jeff Hall says, that's "if" final approval and funding come next year. A Corp of Engineers spokesman says, the agency's process is moving along at the appropriate speed.