The South Carolina Supreme Court is set to decide who gets to regulate the Savannah River. The justices will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by environmentalists that say the Savannah River Maritime Commission created by South Carolina lawmakers oversees that state's side of the river.
The board that runs South Carolina's environmental agency has decided not to reconsider its permit allowing deeper dredging in the Savannah River, setting up a courtroom showdown next week in the fight over helping bigger ships reach the port in Savannah, Ga.
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.
Conservation groups are suing to stop Savannah harbor deepening. The Savannah Riverkeeper, the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups are challenging a South Carolina agency’s approval of a permit for the dredging of the Savannah River.
South Carolina's attorney general has agreed to represent the Savannah River Maritime Commission in its opposition to Georgia's plans to dredge the river channel shared with South Carolina. The commission voted Monday to declare invalid the water quality permit approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Georgia environmental regulators are making their approval of the Savannah harbor deepening project contingent on 15 conditions. The massive port expansion has angered environmental groups who worry about the project's long-term effects on the coastal estuary. The conditions were aimed at addressing the concerns.
Georgia officials are worried about a potential monkey wrench in the Savannah harbor deepening project. South Carolina environmental officials say, they won't certify that the project meets their state's water quality standards until after a year-long review. Scientists have been studying the issue for 11 years and Georgia officials want the harbor deepened as soon as possible.