By Matt Tomsic
Published June 6, 2012
The Army Corps of Engineers produced a flawed study to deepen the Savannah River, and the project would waste money, according to comments filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center for the project.
“The corps’ report sinks itself, under the weight of fundamental flaws for a proposal to waste $650 million on putting the Savannah River on life support for no benefit to port business,” said Chris DeScherer, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, in a news release. “Until the corps assesses the best regional bang for federal taxpayer buck, it’d be irresponsible to move forward with this $650 million deepening that will result in significant damage to the river and communities.”
In its comments, the law center argues the corps says the river deepening will not maintain or increase business for Savannah port terminals, though the Georgia Ports Authority says the project will grow its business.
“The disagreement between the corps report and the GPA’s public statements highlights how broken this process has become,” said Steve Eames, director of the Coastal Conservation League’s South Coast office, in the release. “It’s incumbent on the GPA with the corps to explain why their economic growth projections for 47 feet justify the level of environmental damage the corps’ findings indicate will occur.”
The law center also points to environmental damage the project could cause. Dissolved oxygen levels are expected to decrease after the project, and the corps plans to use Speece cones to inject dissolved oxygen into the river. The law center and other conservationists argue the cones are unproven at this scale.