By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -A federal judge has approved a settlement of a lawsuit challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel leading to Georgia's ports.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in Charleston thanked attorneys for both sides Wednesday for reaching a settlement in a case he said could have dragged through the courts for years.
Environmental groups sued last year, contending deepening the 32-mile shipping channel will dredge toxic cadmium from the river. Under the settlement, the Army Corps of Engineers would provide more mitigation and the Georgia Ports Authority will provide millions for conservation work. It also will transfer 2,000 acres of marsh to South Carolina.
The settlement allows the deepening to proceed. Attorneys for both sides called it fair and reasonable.