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.
Georgia's business and political leaders eagerly awaited this week's final report on Savannah harbor deepening. But while it's the US Army Corps of Engineers' last word on the project, it's not the last word in the public debate over whether the deepening should happen. The agency next week will open a comment period.
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.
President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget includes $2.8 million towards the $600 million project to deepen the Port of Savannah, one of the nation's busiest. Supporters of the project pushed for $105 million ahead of the project's final federal approval, expected later this year.
The governors of Georgia and South Carolina are keeping quiet on a private meeting on stalled efforts to build a $5 billion cargo port on the Savannah River shared by both states. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley met for nearly two hours Friday at a private office building in Augusta, about midway between their respective statehouses. Both left without speaking to reporters.
Three conservation groups are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a $600 million project to deepen the Savannah River shipping channel. The suit was filed Friday in state court in Jasper County on the South Carolina side of the river.
Georgia ports officials are asking state lawmakers for $46 million for Savannah harbor deepening in the upcoming legislative session. But it's not the only item they'll be following. Georgia Ports Authority also is interested in the results of a year-long initiative to re-write laws affecting businesses.
An appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $588,000 in construction funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to advance the deepening of the Savannah Harbor. Officials said the shift from planning to implementation is critical for keeping the project on schedule.