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When economics and environment collide, parties settle on terms

Often it can seem as though economic success and environmental protection cannot come hand-in-hand. But a recent legal settlement between envioronmental enthusiasts and the U.s. Army Coprs of Engineers proves that talking it out can truly lead to potential win-win situations. 

The Corps was behind the oush for the approval of the project of deepening the Savannah River. Doing so would allow larger ships that store more within them to pass through the river. Within the matter, there was an element of both economic as well as environmental factors. The Corps and its critics of the deepening proposal had a meeting of minds that, as of now, they feel serves both the interests of business and clean water.

Earlier this week, a judge approved the settlement made between the Corps and various environmental groups representing both South Carolina and Georgia, including the Savannah Riverkeeper. Basically the plaintiffs that brought the environmental lawsuit against the Corps agreed to the forward movement of the deepening project on a couple of grounds.

The Corps will engage in more monitoring of the environmental impact of its actions. Georgia's Ports Authority will put millions of dollars toward the effort of environmental conservation. These are just a couple of the terms, but despite the settlement, the plaintiffs can take continued action if they feel that the terms of the agreement are not being met once the project is underway.

Deepening a river can lead to the dredging of toxic substances within the water and in the shores around the impacted areas. Steps should be taken to avoid or mitigate the potential impact of this environmental threat, especially if the settlement includes the Corps and Georgia Ports Authority promise to do so.


Source: The Associated Press, "Judge OKs Savannah River dredging settlement," Bruce Smith, May 30, 2013

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