Environmental groups in Georgia and South Carolina filed an appeal with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court on Thursday challenging South Carolina’s approval of a dredging permit for the Savannah River.
The appeal contends that South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control improperly approved the permit allowing deepening of the channel to 48 feet so larger ships may call at the Port of Savannah.
The permit had originally been opposed by the DHEC staff, but the DHEC board reversed that ruling last month after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal met with S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and asked for her help. Before that meeting, Haley had opposed to the project.
The appeal contends the dredging will deplete dissolved oxygen, destroy habitat of the endangered shortnose sturgeon and destroy hundreds of acres of freshwater marsh.
Attorneys with the Southern Environmnetal Law Center appealed the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s approval of the $650 million project. SELC filed the appeal on behalf of Savannah Riverkeeper, the Cotasla Conservation League and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.