COLUMBIA, S.C. (Legal Newsline) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is now involved in a dispute over expanding the port of Savannah.

On Monday, the Savannah River Maritime Commission said the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's board overstepped its boundaries in issuing a water quality permit for the port, according to The State.

The permit would've allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and deepen the river, allowing larger ships to reach the port.

The commission, in making its decision, asked Wilson to handle the case on its behalf, the newspaper reported.

The Savannah River Maritime Commission was created in 2007 by the state Legislature to deal with port issues and represent the state's interests in the waterway shared with Georgia.

The move now means the port's expansion could be delayed, according to The State.

Critics of the expansion say it could hurt South Carolina's Port of Charleston and the state's economy. However, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who is pro-business, has endorsed the project.

A spokesman for Wilson's office told the newspaper the attorney general is still "studying the facts" to figure out its role in the matter.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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