1987 – The South Carolina Coastal Council, lead by Beaufort County’s own Sen. James Waddell, identified a Jasper County site being used to deposit dredge spoils, on the lower Savannah River, as a potential location for a deep-water marine shipping terminal. The idea had been promoted for years by former Jasper County Administrator Henry Moss and former Lowcountry Council of Governments Director Buddy Thompson.
1990 – The South Carolina State Ports Authority rejects the project.
1991-99 – Jasper County continues to study and promote a Savannah River marine terminal including discussions with various marine terminal operators.
August 2000 – State Ports Authority Board member Bill Bethea of Hilton Head Island proposes the agency should study construction of a Savannah River terminal. His fellow-board members reject the idea.
August-November 2000 – Jasper County and Stevedoring Services of America Marine of Seattle sign an agreement to pursue the terminal project with a promise to invest up to $450 million private dollars in the project.
June 2001 – An economic impact study on the viability of the project projects the creation of 95,000 jobs in the creation.
2003 – South Carolina State Supreme Court rules Jasper County’s contract with SSA Marine was not for a “public use.” County retains national experts to independently review and assist it to modify contract.
September 2003 – The SC Supreme Court rules against Jasper County’s first condemnation suit.
2003-2004 – Jasper County and SSA Marine develop additional details, County retains Municipal Advisors Group of Boston to review and advise on agreements, County establishes Port District and continues preparations.
January 2005 – After negotiations with Georgia DOT fail, Jasper County files another suit to condemn dredge spoils sites for “a higher and better public use” as a County-owned marine terminal.
January 2005 – According to press accounts of the meeting, SPA Chairman Harry Butler arrives unannounced at a Jasper County Council meeting and states, “To the people of Jasper County who have fought for this project, I would say, help is on the way.” He did not answer questions and provided no specifics, no plan nor timeline. Later that month, SPA sues Jasper County over its plans to build a marine terminal.
2005 Legislative Session – More than 70 legislators of both chambers, parties and from around the state, called for SPA and Jasper County to adopt a specific compromise for SAIT. After a public hearing, Jasper County voted to accept the proposal.
April 2005 – SPA rejects the private-public port development plan proposed by Jasper County.
2006 Legislation Session – Legislation demanding that SPA get approval of the legislature before it undertake any action regarding the construction or condemnation of land for SAIT was sponsored by 93 General Assembly members.
April 2006 – SC State Supreme Court rules Jasper County has the legal right to develop a marine terminal but that SPA has a superior right of condemnation. SPA sues Georgia DOT to condemn the same land Jasper County started condemning 16 months earlier.
March 2007 – Govs. Mark Sanford of S.C. and Sonny Perdue of Georgia announce a bi-state agreement and swap ties to seal the deal.
July 2008 – As part of the port plans, South Carolina and Georgia ports authorities buy the 1,518 acres from the Georgia DOT but the Army Corps of Engineers still has a perpetutal easement on the land for spoil disposal and will not release that easement until an alternate site is located.
October 2008 – The bi-state Jasper Terminal Joint Project Office board, formed in 2007, hires a California-based design engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol to develop feasibility studies and a management plan.
February 2009 – The Savananh River Maritime Commission, formed in 2008 and chaired by Dean Moss of the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority, told the new opening date may be 2024 rather than 2014-2016.
October 2009 – Some members of the Commission push for the hiring of a consultant to review (read “fight”) the Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed dredging now due in summer 2010. The Savannah Morning News editorial board calls the South Carolina leaders, who have pledged support for the bi-state port project while challenging the dredging project, “crackpots.”
Compiled with contributions from the Jasper Port Now website, http://www.jasperportnow.com/1990 – The South Carolina State Ports Authority rejects the project.