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Government's Port Decision Fails South Carolina
By: Representative Peter McCoy (R, SC-115)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our neighbors are out of work. Our families are struggling to make ends meet. Our existing businesses are fighting daily to stay afloat. Yet, our government and its agencies continue to attack businesses and hurt job creation in South Carolina. Last Thursday’s decision by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) to approve Georgia’s application for a $600 million dollar dredging project on the Savannah River is, unfortunately, the icing on the cake.

The interests of our economy, our future jobs, and our potential for billions in new revenue that could have floated into our state have been sold down the river by giving Georgia an overwhelmingly competitive advantage over our local port in Charleston and our potential port in Jasper. But, more importantly, the interests of our greatest South Carolina resource – the hard working people of our state – were left out to dry with this decision.

Specifically, SCDHEC’s approved application will allow the Port of Savannah to deepen their rivers, handle larger container ships, and allow more commerce to flow into Georgia. This is the same request we in South Carolina have been making for our local port for years. Should Savannah not Charleston complete this dredging, South Carolina businesses and hard-working people will see less work, less income, and less of the natural habitats that we enjoy today.

Although Attorney General Alan Wilson is looking further into the SCDHEC decision, the people of South Carolina deserve some explanations now. On behalf of our South Carolina families and businesses, I demand answers from the SCDHEC Board.

Namely, why did you change your decision from a short six weeks ago when you voted against Georgia’s application? Why did you approve an application for a dredging project that will stifle job creation in our own state? Why did you give our neighboring state a leg up on us in an economy that is certainly less than desirable? In short, why did you make a decision that fails South Carolina?

The SCDHEC decision does not affect a select group of businesses. It affects all South Carolina businesses and workers from trucking to manufacturing, from small family-owned businesses to large businesses that have made major investments in our state, from importers to exporters, and from Republicans to Democrats. Lawmakers, business owners, and hard-working families deserve answers. And we deserve answers now.