Jasper Port put on hold over jurisdiction issues

The growing battle over bi-state cooperation over maritime shipping in the lower Savannah River region took another turn today when the two-state board overseeing planning for the Jasper County port facility was blocked from conducting business after a motion for an injunction was filed in Charleston courts last week. 

The injunction is in effect until October 1 unless another court hearing takes place sooner. According to Jasper port board member David Posek, the injunction was sought by the Savannah River Maritime Commission after Jasper port board members continued forward with a recent meeting. The Commission contends they have jurisdiction over the maritime shipping issues on the River. According to Posek:
We elected not to postpone the meeting, and the commission filed the temporary injunction restraining us from offering opinions or voting on any issue dealing with navigation, depth, dredging, wastewater and dredge disposal or other issues related to use of the Savannah River for oceangoing commerce.

The injunction would stop board members from voting to authorize a 2013 budget which would fund continued studies and research needed to better determine the feasibility for the Jasper port facility. These funds were allocated for planning of the Jasper port several years ago, but require board approval before being spent, which will be delayed by the injunction. 

This issue is one of several points of dispute between the two states which share the lower Savannah River region over developing the river and surrounding areas for increased maritime commerce, with the feds, Georgia and South Carolina officials and agencies battling over a number of issues, including shipping facilities and river dredging.

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