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With a pair of unanimous votes on Tuesday the S.C. Senate rebuked Gov. Nikki Haley over the “Savannah River Sellout,” her controversial appeasement of the state of Georgia’s port expansion plans.

The Senate votes come on the heels of a unanimous 111-0 vote in the S.C. House of Representatives last week.

First, Senators voted 35-0 to pass S. 1114 – a resolution which “suspends the authority of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC)… for all decisions subsequent to 2007 related to all matters pertaining to the navigability, depth, dredging, wastewater and sludge disposal, and related collateral issues concerning the South Carolina portion of the Savannah River.”

The Senate resolution specifically suspends SCDHEC’s November decision to overturn the agency’s prior objections and grant a key environmental permit related to the Port of Savannah expansion project.

That decision – which has prompted outrage from Republicans and Democrats alike – would permit the Port of Savannah’s expansion to move forward, enhancing its competitive advantage at the expense of the Port of Charleston and effectively eliminating any chance that a deep water port will ever be constructed in Jasper County, S.C. In fact, the deal agreed to by Haley’s appointees would result it toxic sludge being dumped on the Jasper County port site for the next fifty years.

Haley’s deal also guarantees that U.S. taxpayers will be on the hook for Savannah’s expansion – rather than private capital going to fund a Jasper County facility that would create thousands of South Carolina jobs and cause much less damage to the environment.

“It is shameful that public officials and bureaucrats have blatantly blocked the development, with private capital, of a tremendous maritime asset in Jasper County,” said S.C. Sen. Tom Davis.

Haley has been accused of receiving financial and political favors from moneyed interests in Georgia in exchange for her advocacy on behalf of the Port of Savannah.

Moments after the 35-0 vote, Senators voted 37-0 to approve the resolution that passed the S.C. House last week – which in addition to suspending SCDHEC’s authority holds that the agency “unlawfully usurped” the authority of the Savannah River Maritime Commission in accommodating Georgia’s port plans.

As reported exclusively by FITS, the commission has already moved to block the decision – and S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is assisting commission members in their efforts.

As was the case in the S.C. House, a handful of Senators abstained from voting on the resolutions. Among them? S.C. Sen. Wes Hayes (RINO-York) and S.C. Sen. Luke Rankin (RINO-Myrtle Beach). Meanwhile S.C. Senator Mike Fair (RINO-Greenville) did not vote on the Senate resolution, but did vote to approve the House resolution.

To view the Senate roll call votes on both measures, click the links below …

S. 1115
H. 4627

Pic: Travis Bell Photography