Augusta,Ga (WJBF) Augusta officials say this is all about protecting the pool, the Corps plan would drop the river here by at least two feet, but a simulation of that plan in February dropped the river level about five feet Augusta officials say that is unacceptable and they’re now wiling to make a federal case out of it.
South Carolina first filed suit to keep the Corps of Engineers from replacing Lock and Dam, now Augusta has intervened in the case.
“According to the attorney that we hired to help us with this case he confirmed with us that any decision that’s going to be made was have to go through a judge so this is a way for us to be at the table for that decision and help guide the process,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
The city’s suit says the Corps plan would violate federal law and moving forward removing lock an dam should not be allowed.
But The Savannah River keeper says the city will have have difficulty saving the lock and dam.
“In terms of saving the dam the dam is gone and hopefully Augusta doesn’t try to bring that to the table,” said Tonya Bonitatibus, the Executive Director.
Augusta officials would like to save lock and dam but say the suit will allow the city to have a voice in finding a solution that protects the pool.
“If the lock and dam is going to be saved it would have to be based on the fact that whose going to take ownership of the dam is there another viable solution with possible crest gates or something we can discuss with them as well there’s a lot of options on the table the main thing is we have a seat at the table,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom.
Though Augusta has joined South Carolina’s lawsuit there is one big difference South Carolina calls for halting all dredging in the Savannah Harbor Augusta’s suit does not
“We don’t want to stop any of the progress down there because in our minds this is separate from Savannah,” said Commissioner Garrett.
The Riverkeeper isn’t in favor of saving Lock an Dam but says Augusta’s lawsuit could bring all parties together for an acceptable solution.
“I don’t think that’s going to save the dam I do think that ultimately everybody wants a higher water level and leaving it up to a judge and the legal process makes sense at this point,” said Bonitatibus.
Federal lawsuits cost money and do take time Augusta officials say right now they do not know what the exact cost is going to be or when a final decision will be reached in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6
For the full file regarding the suit, click the download button below.