The federal government shutdown isn't affecting workers preparing for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The $652 million port deepening is overseen by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A spokesman says the project might be affected if the shutdown continues for a long period of time.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley met on the Savannah River on Wednesday. The two executives and a host of officials from both states met to discuss water issues. But the only agreement to come from the meeting concerns drought.
Jasper County officials are threatening to take over the Jasper Ocean Terminal project. They complain that the effort, overseen jointly by Georgia and South Carolina, is mired in never-ending studies. South Carolina officials say progress is being made.
The President's budget proposes $1.2 million for Savannah harbor expansion. That's a small fraction of the project's $650 million total cost and the $100 million that state officials were expecting in the budget documents presented Wednesday. States are racing to deepen their harbors for bigger ships.
Conservation groups in two states say the Army Corps of Engineers needs a South Carolina pollution permit now, not later, for the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel. Attorneys late Tuesday filed a response to a corps request that a federal judge dismiss their lawsuit against the project.
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.
When a public comment period closes June 5th on final plans to deepen Savannah's harbor, expect encouraging words from city officials. The city's water department previously raised concerns over the proposal's potential impact on the city's drinking water supply. But the US Army Corps of Engineers' final plan calls for building a 75 million gallon reservoir.
Endangered fish could swim farther up the Savannah River once the Savannah harbor deepening project gets started. US Army Corps of Engineers officials are proposing a $32 million "fishway" around an Augusta dam as part of the massive port expansion proposal. But aren't convinced the endangered shortnosed sturgeon would benefit from it.
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.