South Carolina again blocks Savannah River port improvements (Update: Deal)

Flickr user .:[ Melissa ]:.

Update November 10: A compromise has been struck and offers some guarentees of environmental quality by Georgia.

First reporting October 3: Mirroring a trend across the nation and world, the Savannah River is slated to be deepened to handle the next generation in massive cargo ships — but before that can happen, environmental permits must be cleared, and South Carolina is once again saying it won't let that happen.

Approval is needed by both Georgia's Environmental Protection Division and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control before the Army Corps of Engineers can move forward with plans to deepen the river by six feet.

South Carolina's port in Charleston has had a hard time securing funding to study its own deepening and has fallen behind and the previous opposition to the deepening has been accused of a being a political move to slow down growing competition.

For its part, South Carolina raises matters of saltwater intrusion, wetlands loss, impact to fishing, and a general degradation of water quality

The issue becomes further complicated in Beaufort County as recent conflict between the two states had derailed the never-really-moving effort to establish a Jasper County port and only resumed this July.

At best, conflict on the Savannah River will only draw effort away from establishing a Jasper port, at worse it will once again disband the bi-state effort.

Filed in