And so the inter- and intra-state fighting continues.
Now, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.:
House lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle Wednesday decried a controversial decision that, they say, is disastrous for the Charleston port and will injure the state’s overall economy.
House members unanimously approved a resolution that says Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointed board at the Department of Health and Environmental Control overstepped its bounds in November, approving a water-quality permit that helped clear the way for a project to expand the port of Savannah. Savannah’s port competes with the Charleston port, a major economic driver for the Palmetto State.
The resolution says the Savannah River Maritime Commission, not DHEC, should have made the permit decision and other Savannah River-related decisions since 2007, the year lawmakers created the commission to deal with port issues.
There’s obviously a huge amount of background to this story, and I’m not going to try to recap it.
The thumbnail version: One S.C. body (the DHEC) approved a key water quality permit for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), but another S.C. body (the Savannah River Maritime Commission) says that they have the final say on that permit. The S.C. House backs the SRMC; a similar resolution seems likely to pas the S.C. Senate.
Governor Nikki Haley supports the DHEC decision, but she is being increasingly politically isolated on the issue.
State Rep. Jim Merrill is quoted as saying:
“The governor got buffaloed,” he said. “I think her intent was to create a more pro-business DHEC board. Georgia took advantage of that naïveté.”
Language like that seems likely to heighten the political tensions.