Conservation groups appeal Savannah dredging

COLUMBIA - Conservation groups -- including one from Augusta -- have appealed South Carolina's water quality permit for the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel.

Attorneys with the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the appeal in the state’s Administrative Law Court.

The appeal contends the Department of Health and Environmental Control improperly approved the permit allowing deepening of the channel so larger ships may call at Georgia’s ports. The permit had originally been opposed by the DHEC staff.

The appeal contends the dredging will deplete dissolved oxygen, destroy habitat of the endangered shortnose sturgeon and destroy hundreds of acres of freshwater marsh.

It was filed on behalf of the Savannah Riverkeeper, based in Augusta, Ga., as well as the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.

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