April 11, 2012

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The SC Supreme Court will exercise original jurisdiction over an issue involving agency authority in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).  Several environmental groups have asked the Court to determine which state agency, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) or the Savannah River Maritime Commission (SRMC), had authority to issue a permit to the Corps of Engineers, which will allow the Corps to dredge the Savannah River to create an expanded Savannah Harbor. According to the environmental groups, DHEC, the agency that issued the permit, usurped its authority because SRMC is the proper agency to issue such permits.  The Court set a briefing schedule but has not indicated when it will reach a final decision.  Other cases related to SHEP are pending in the federal district court of SC and the SC administrative court.  The impact of the Supreme Court case on these other actions is yet to be determined.  Read more about the SC Supreme Court’s role in the Savannah port dredging dispute here.