Federal regulators are starting the reviews needed to jump-start construction of the long-awaited Jasper Ocean Terminal.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin a study — known as an Environmental Impact Statement — to “assess the potential social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed construction and operation” of the port, according to corps documents. The study is expected to take four years to complete.
The study is a critical step in the process of building the $4.5 billion port on 1,500 acres in Jasper County, near the Tybee National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the Savannah River, officials with the joint Georgia-South Carolina venture overseeing the project have said.
Specifically, the “detailed analysis” will look at issues such as air, noise and light pollution; fish and wildlife; transportation infrastructure; and impacts on the floodplain, the corps documents say.
The environmental study, along with the permitting and regulatory process required by the federal government, will cost roughly $15 million, Jasper Ocean Terminal board officials estimate.
The port is expected to be operational by around 2025. But in a visit to Ridgeland earlier this year, Gov. Nikki Haley challenged regulators and the terminal board to work as quickly as possible.
“We need this done yesterday,” she said.