By Matt Tomsic
Published July 31, 2012
The Georgia Ports Authority is asking to intervene in a federal lawsuit filed over the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, arguing it has separate interests from the case’s only defendant, the Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District.
The Georgia Ports Authority filed its motion Wednesday.
“As the state owner and operator of port facilities that benefit from the SHEP and a party to the DHEC authorizations, GPA has a strong economic interest in the SHEP,” according to the filing. “The possibility exists that this case could significantly alter the schedule of the SHEP or the scope of the project itself. For this reason, GPA’s contractual and economic interests face impairment if GPA is not allowed to intervene.”
The Georgia Ports Authority also filed an answer to the lawsuit, arguing the harbor expansion will not cause “substantial adverse impacts to the Savannah River or the surrounding areas.” The ports authority also argues the expansion plans address cadmium levels in the sediment that will be dredged from the Savannah River, and the cadmium won’t cause adverse effects.
The $650 million deepening project is being done in anticipation of the expansion of the Panama Canal, which port officials say will open the East Coast to larger post-Panamax ships.