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Footnotes Issue #81: March 7th, 2014

  Will the Panama Canal be a Stick-up of Georgia Taxpayers?

Savannah Port GA

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When President Obama unveiled the Federal omnibus spending bill on Monday, it did not include the federally “promised” funding to move forward on dredging the Savannah River to be deep enough for Post-Panamax ships to call on the Savannah Harbor. Governor Deal responded with outrage, and announced that he is ready to start spending the $231 million that the Georgia General Assembly has approved to start the $660+ million Savannah Channel Deep Dredge project. However, there is another hurdle: the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA), which would authorize this project to start, is now stuck in a reconciliation committee in Congress, passes and is signed by the president. 

There are a few other hurdles, though. First, the Panama Canal deepening has been halted and it is anyone's guess as to when or if it will ever be completed. Second, the original Panama Canal deepening plans did not anticipate the super-sized container ships which are fast becoming the preferred mode of container shipping, and which will not fit through the canal even if its deepening is completed. What's even stickier is that these giant ships will not fit into the Savannah Channel at the targeted 47 foot depth, either. They require 50 feet or more -- which the Army Corps of Engineers will not approve citing environmental concerns.  

Georgians should urge Governor Deal not to spend any Georgia tax revenue on deepening the Savannah River as long as the on-going Panama Canal construction starts again. This time should be used to develop a sound American national port strategy and plan. Click here to send Governor Deal not to spend your tax money until the Federal Government budgets for their share and that Army Corps demonstrate that the "oxygenation" units work, as required by the court.

Sierra Club Meetings

Wildlands Committee Meeting, Tuesday, March 17, 7:00 p.m.
Mike Murdock - Chair,

RAIL Committee Meeting, Monday, March 24, 7:00 p.m.
David Emory - Chair,

Fundraising Committee Meeting, Thursday, March 27, 7:00 p.m.
Colleen Kiernan,

Smart Energy Committee Meeting, Monday, April 7, 7:00 p.m.
Cecilia Harris,


Other Events

Southface Greenprints 2014

March 12 & 13 - Greenprints - 
Now in its 17th year, Greenprints is the premier convening of national thought leaders in sustainable design, construction and communities.  On March 12 and 13, 2014 over 300 of these leaders will meet to explore issues related to green building, sustainable development and policy in the Southeast. Click here to Register!

Southeast Green logo

March 13 - The Power of Policy: Women in Sustainability - Southeast Green will host four national women leaders in sustainability policy. Join them as they explore how these female leaders are shaping our nation's landscape from a policy perspective! Click here for more information and to register!

Georgia Trail Summit


April 11 & 12 - Georgia Trail Summit - Meet like-minded trail users, lovers, builders and designers to share lessons learned at the Georgia Trail Summit. In addition to fascinating presentations, mobile workshops, social events and a keynote speaker, the Summit includes an UNconference component. Short sessions will be created spontaneously based on YOUR interests and ideas. For more information and to register, click here.


JMO 2014

SAVE THE DATE! 2014 John Muir Outings Series - On most Saturdays in April, let’s get outdoors together for the 2013 John Muir Outings Series.  On these unique outings, you can learn about our current conservation campaigns and how you can help protect Georgia's environment. Join us, along with our special guests, as we share our environmental visions of how to enable a grand and sustainable Georgia, one of which our founder would be proud. Click here for more information!


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