Corps warns it may ignore SC to deepen Ga. harbor

Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Plans to deepen the Georgia river channel used by cargo ships to reach Savannah's seaport are entering murky legal waters now that objections are being raised by neighboring South Carolina.

The question is how much power South Carolina has to hold up the $600 million project on the Savannah River, which the state shares with Georgia.

South Carolina's environmental agency recently denied a water quality permit sought by the Army Corps of Engineers, saying the project would do unacceptable environmental harm.

The corps has appealed. Its Savannah commander, Col. Jeffrey Hall, says he's prepared to cite an exemption under federal law that would allow the deepening without the South Carolina permit.

A federal judge has approved such an exemption in a similar case in Delaware, but it remains under appeal.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.