A federal judge says that both the Georgia Ports Authority and a South Carolina agency overseeing activities in the Savannah River may take part in a $650 million lawsuit challenging the deepening of the river shipping channel. But U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also denied a motion Tuesday to expand the lawsuit to deal with what South Carolina environmental laws pertain to the project.
The Georgia Ports Authority wants to enter a federal lawsuit challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel. The authority also wants to block the Savannah River Maritime Commission, a South Carolina state agency, from being involved in the case.
Georgia Port Authority officials are reporting record tonnage numbers for the fiscal year that ended in June. Total non-containerized cargo jumped about 16% from the previous fiscal year. The dock at Colonel's Island reported a 19% growth in auto and machinery traffic.
Georgia ports received record volumes in the 2012 fiscal year for total tonnage and the amount of containers and autos that came through the ports. The ports boosted overall tonnage to 26.5 million for an increase of 561,038 tons.
Gov. Nathan Deal has named his business partner and two top contributors to the Georgia Ports Authority. Ken Cronan and James Walters, both of Gainesville, and Hugh M. Tarbutton of Sandersville have been appointed to the authority's governing board.
Tuesday is the deadline for public comments in a plan to deepen Savannah's harbor from 42 to 47 feet. Supporters and opponents of the project have been picking over the massive proposal and have different conclusions for federal officials who'll make a final yes-or-no decision later this year. The US Army Corps of Engineers spent 14 years studying plans to deepen the Savannah harbor.
About 350,000 Georgia workers owe their jobs in some way to the Georgia ports. A report released by the University of Georgia says, 1-in-12 Georgia jobs is port-dependent. Critics say, the figures are inflated, counting every Wal-Mart greeter and store clerk as port-dependent since they work at a company that uses the ports.
Fourteen majestic tall ships are temporarily transforming Savannah's historic waterfront into a harbor of yore. The old-style sailing vessels are docking in Savannah for the Tall Ships Challenge. It's the first time in 15 years the city has hosted a tall ships festival.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants a federal judge to toss a lawsuit that says a $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel needs a South Carolina pollution permit. The Georgia ports want the channel deepened to handle larger ships that will call when the Panama Canal is deepened. Conservation groups on both sides of the river have sued.