Horse-trading and the Port of Savannah

My AJC colleague Dan Chapman sends word that Georgia surmounted a huge environmental hurdle today when a South Carolina agency voted to let the deepening of the Savannah River move forward.

We’ll add a link when his article is up.

Last month, the staff of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control denied a permit needed to dredge 32 miles of the Savannah River. Thursday, the staff reversed itself and said all environmental issues had been satisfactorily addressed. The DHEC board, appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, then voted unanimously to approve the permit.

Last month, in a prelude to a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal, Haley was already softening her tone. “Every port is different and every port has its challenges, ” Haley said to a South Carolina business group. “We have to say, ‘What do we need to do that is right for the region? What do we need to do so that all are successful?’ There’s ways to do that.”

Haley is taking hometown flak. One local blog has accused her of selling out her state in exchange for national exposure. Take it with a grain of salt. The blog’s author is the same fellow – Will Folks — who claimed to have had an affair with Haley, then a GOP candidate for governor.

Folks points the finger at former Georgia GOP chairman Alec Poitevint, now in charge of next year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa:

In February, Poitevint was named chairman of the 2012 convention’s “Committee on Arrangements” – a role that gives him the power to determine which aspiring GOP politicians receive these coveted speaking slots.

Why is this relevant to Haley’s recent flip-flop on port issues? In July of this year Poitevint – a major GOP donor – was reelected to his second term as … you guessed it … chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority.

After the South Carolina vote today, South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, chairman of Transportation Committee, acknowledged hearing the talk.

“Anytime you see a state agency reverse itself on a major issue such as this, questions of political influence come into play. I’ve seen and heard rumors about the governor of South Carolina. I would hope those rumors are not true,” he said.

Chapman says he asked Poitevint several weeks ago whether there was any horse-trading to encourage Haley to shift her position. “She’s a nice lady,” Poitevint replied.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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28 comments Add your comment

honested

November 10th, 2011
2:26 pm

Great, we get to put the Floridan Aquifer at risk, bring seawater farther back up the channel, bring ships into an area where there is no room whatsoever for navigation error, all so sonny can keep his new trucking company full.

Oh, and the taxpayers have to pay for this nonsense!

Charleston is a much better idea, but sonny doesn’t get the kickback. Who said GA ever let a better idea get in the way of the oligarchs getting their ‘entitlement’.

Lei

November 10th, 2011
2:26 pm

Good for Georgia!

sheepdawg

November 10th, 2011
3:04 pm

poitevent is a 1%er

Booger Fling

November 10th, 2011
3:23 pm

Par for the course when it comes to our culture of shady politics. Folks should have expected a back door deal was immediatly in the making when the permit was denied.

Looks like business as usual. None of these people can be trusted.

Mid Ga Retiree

November 10th, 2011
3:29 pm

Seems like this is a win for Georgia. It sure can’t hurt.

Honkie

November 10th, 2011
3:46 pm

Absolutely great for Georgia to have them huge freighters coming to our state with thousands of containers on board to be handled, shipped, unloaded and delivered. All that equals a great deal of jobs on the horizon when the new and larger Panama Canal is finished.
To hell with the nay-sayers on this project squeaking like mindless rats underfoot.

findog

November 10th, 2011
3:58 pm

I’m sorry but could anyone explain what South Carolina’s environmental issues were and how Georgia satisfactorily addressed them [with a straight face] ?

Jackie

November 10th, 2011
4:12 pm

Typical democrate hardliners who would rather prevent thousands of private sector jobs to keep up their endless attacks on their politcal opponents. These people would rather impoverish the state than see a republican get credit for anything.

findog

November 10th, 2011
4:14 pm

Jackie,
You know any South Carolina democrats?

jconservative

November 10th, 2011
4:15 pm

Now where is the state going to get the money to dredge the channel? $500+ million right?

The Feds are supposed to be broke and have no spending money. Grover will not allow the Feds to raise taxes. The Republican caucus has decided that any savings from spending cuts will go to debt reduction, not new spending. And a lot of Democrats agree.

Now where is the state going to get the money to dredge the channel?

Bubba

November 10th, 2011
4:21 pm

Hey, whatever it takes.

eponymous

November 10th, 2011
4:29 pm

hey jackie…those are union jobs. bring those jobs anytime you get ready!

honested

November 10th, 2011
4:33 pm

jackie,

There are not ‘thousands of private sector jobs’ attached to this project.
If this fiasco occurs, there will be a few jobs attached to the dredging, then
EXACTLY THE SAME NUMBER OF JOBS currently existing to unload fewer, larger vessels.
Also, the Panama Canal widening was undertaken when a different, continually growing world view (that has proven to be a bit inaccurate) held sway. It is doubtful that every shipping company will run out and scrap their existing inventory to upgrade when the volume does not support the cost.

Of course you may have a point, if the Floridan Aquifer is punctured and the seawater leaks in, billions will be spent on repairing the damage!

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 10th, 2011
4:38 pm

Honkie

November 10th, 2011
3:46 pm

Absolutely great for Georgia to have them huge freighters coming to our state with thousands of containers on board to be handled, shipped, unloaded and delivered. All that equals a great deal of jobs on the horizon when the new and larger Panama Canal is finished.
To hell with the nay-sayers on this project squeaking like mindless rats underfoot.

How is the widening of the Panama Canal going to help Georgia ports?

double

November 10th, 2011
5:18 pm

With fresh water already a problem.Think enviroment,not Sonny Trucking..

markie mark

November 10th, 2011
5:25 pm

@honested….you have no clue what you are talking about….the Chattahoochie influences the Florida Aquifer, not the Savannah River, for gods sake. And the Brunswick harbor is 90 miles closer to Florida. The Florida line is 75 miles from Brunswick. Look at a map, for gods sake, before you make such asinine statements again. I have lived all of my life in St Simons, north Florida, or Atlanta. Savannah has ZERO impact on the Florida aquifer……

markie mark

November 10th, 2011
5:29 pm

Findog – the South Carolina environmental objections appear to have been, in reality, that they wanted a port on the SC side of the river further up the river. The Corp of Engineers and EPA had satisfied their concerns before they recommended that the project go forward. This has been years in the making, not just something that came up recently. And for SC to get THEIR port, the river had to be dredged….if there was horse trading (probably), I suggest that is what the media should look at.

td

November 10th, 2011
5:33 pm

honested

November 10th, 2011
4:33 pm

Here you go again. If a job producing project has any chance that it may cause a fish to die or some grassland could possible be damaged then the project can not happen and to h3ll with the jobs.

What should we do? That is right, tax the rich and set up more entitlement programs to zap the life out of more people.

markie mark

November 10th, 2011
5:35 pm

Billy Mays – the container ships that will be able to traverse the Panama Canal after their widening is completed are too large to fit most east coast ports. All the ports are scrambling to be able to handle this traffic….the first ones who do, will probably win out. Jacksonville is trying to compete as hard as they can with Brunswick and Savannah, and they have been working on Blount Island (their cargo facility) for years trying to increase its capacity (thats why they were able to handle cruise ships now, and why they were able to use cruise ships 7 or 8 years ago as hotels when they hosted the SuperBowl. Thats the only way they were able to get the Superbowl because they did not have enough hotel rooms – I know, off topic, buts it an indication of how long this race has been going on. When I lived in Jax in the 2001 – 2010, they were obsessed with deepening their channel)

edna depue

November 10th, 2011
6:24 pm

Alec Poitevint is the ultimate rich insider. He sits on the Board of Georgia Ports Authority while his agrcultural grain/supplement business uses the GA ports to ship millions of tons of his product. Classic example of “No Conflict? No Interest!”

[...] Story brought to you by Savannah GA – Bing News [...]

double

November 10th, 2011
6:48 pm

Honested you having a Perry attack (forgeting)Or a TD attack(distorting)?

william henry talbot walker

November 10th, 2011
7:15 pm

markie mark said…

“@honested….you have no clue what you are talking about….the Chattahoochie influences the Florida Aquifer, not the Savannah River, for gods sake.”

http://pubs.usgs.gov/ha/ha730/ch_g/jpeg/G048.jpeg

Smoke

November 10th, 2011
8:11 pm

Isn’t it interesting that all these government regulaion problems are between states? Red state regulations! Good night.

honested

November 10th, 2011
11:19 pm

double,

no I had a ‘work attack’ and had to tend to other business.

markie

The FLORIDAN aquifer runs under the area from just south of Augusta to just about Jacksonville (I don’t have a map in front of me).
I know you probably remember ‘Florida’ from all those spring break thingys in Panama City, but this does not have anything to do with your distant youth. If you don’t understand aquifers, you should read up before you speak up.

td,

As usual, your pontification has nothing to do with reality.
Enlighten everyone to what the projected PERMANENT JOB INCREASE would be.
When you realize it is under 20, you can report back to sonny that you were schooled.

honested

November 10th, 2011
11:21 pm

william henry,

Thanks, I should have read your post and referred to your map!
Facts are facts and nuts are nuts.
You can’t change either.

george

November 11th, 2011
5:59 am

charleston can be dredged to the needed depth for less than 1/3 of the cost of dredging 22 miles of the savannah river. oh well, it is only money and we need to make it cheaper and easier for the chinese to keep wal mart stocked.

dahreese

November 12th, 2011
4:23 pm

As typical of the business/political mentality any risk to the environment (fresh water, the marshes, the wildlife that count on the marshes for habitat, etc.) always takes second place to the possiblility of making money and good ole boy “understandings”. Governor Deal is just another player in making money. After all, it’s not his backyard or his water that will be risked. If he really cared about Georgia, he wouldn’t do this. And he knows it.