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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 11:51am

Haley Speaks On Savannah Port

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is defending her appointees' actions on Savannah harbor deepening.

Haley says, Georgia got what it deserved when a South Carolina agency approved the project.

South Carolina lawmakers revolted against the first-term Republican when her environmental appointees approved a water quality permit for Georgia's proposed port expansion.

Some South Carolinians see Savannah harbor plans as a threat.

But, calling Georgia a "sister state," Haley said this week, the Georgia project earned the permit on its merits.

"A lot of what we've heard going on is just political rhetoric," Haley says. "You know, saying, 'Why would we grant anything to Georgia?' What I will tell you that's very important is -- you don't undercut people in order to beat them. You beat them by winning."

Haley also addressed a seemingly contradictory tone she took last year when she spoke to Charleston port boosters about the Savannah port expansion.

"When I said a year ago, 'I'm tired of Savannah having their way with us,' what I was saying is, we just sat there," Haley says. "We didn't do anything. We didn't do dual rail. We didn't do distribution centers. We didn't do anything that a port should do. Savannah stepped up and did everything they were supposed to do. We are now going to make up for lost time."

Meanwhile, the Haley appointees told South Carolina state lawmakers Tuesday that the Governor did not try to sway their vote.

Georgia is planning to expand Savannah's port to serve larger ships.