Thanks for your piece regarding the proposed deepening of the Savannah River channel (“Sold down the river,” April 18).
I’m not a scientist but so many of your points are my own thoughts born from common sense. I share your frustration in the seemingly hopeless effort to get people to understand the ramifications of this project.
I railed against it in the tiny Bryan County News where I frequently do a column. Of course the Savannah paper would have nothing to do with it. The AJC isn’t up to the task either. The press isn’t so free any more.
No one seems interested in putting a name to the culprit. We don’t know who the executives at the Georgia Ports Authority are. We don’t know which politicians gave their approval, written or otherwise. Working incognito makes things much easier.
Trying to get personal comments from politicians, especially those at federal level, is impossible. The categorized form letters you get in response are a joke. I realize that if you send a check along with the letter you get a better response.
About three years ago I discovered, quite by accident, that the good old boys in Liberty County were well underway with a wastewater treatment plant designed to process 3.2 million gallons of sewage daily and dump it directly into the marshlands surrounding the Medway River between Bryan and Liberty counties. The Georgia EPD, in all its wisdom, was a partner in the crime.
I blew a fuse! With the help of a local attorney, and a number of citizens who sympathized with our cause, we created a corporation to give ourselves legal status and started an e–mail campaign.
Within a few days we could boast a membership of thousands of supporters. All that most of them asked for, was a way for them to participate.
Many ask but very few really will find the time to contribute. Call a meeting and advertize it and you will get a turn–out and approval of your efforts but no action afterwards.
I contacted members of the local marine science community for their input and began a campaign of letter writing to the newspapers and political representation.
We forced the EPD into public hearings and a delay of the project. It worked. The project died. It was never condemned by the EPD or refused a permit.
There is power in the people. We went into the argument well entrenched with knowledge that our logical reasoning was backed up by solid evidence from scientific sources.
Scientists most often work with grants. Their livelihood depends on the good graces of the political powers that be. For them to enter a fray such as represented by the Medway River project, they do so knowing that there is zero possibility for reward and a hundred percent possibility of retribution by the politically strong.
When you argue that the wetlands will be destroyed by the Savannah harbor deepening, your words fall on deaf ears because 99 percent of the people who make the coast their home have no idea where they live from an ecological standpoint.
When the opposition preaches jobs–jobs–jobs in these times of economical stress their message rings true, true or false.
The concept of the re–oxygenation of the waters is a fantasy. A massive and expensive fraud is about to be perpetrated on the tax payers.
The people of Chatham County simply do not understand that they are about to foot the bill for a handful of industrialists to broaden their profit margins on the backs of the local residents.
The only way to communicate this message is via e–mail. There would have to be a campaign of a very intense and dedicated nature to alert the citizenry who have little time for anything but to earn a living.
Another factor is that people like to identify with success. The Ports Authority represents success. People like to be on the winning side.
Do the citizens of Chatham County really understand that they are going to foot a bill for the maintenance of those ridiculous oxygenators?
Do they understand that such a system is a pipe dream, never tested and totally illogical?
How many millions of gallons of water flow past any given point in the Savannah River at any given point in time? We are not talking about a lake.
Where does the dead zone start? Every part of the river that is more than 25 feet deep probably already is or will become a dead zone without the capacity to sustain marine life.
Do the people of Chatham County know that they are going to foot the never-ending bill for the maintenance of the inadequate freshwater retention pond and the relocation of their freshwater wells?
Has the Corps of Engineers asked the opinion of third party marine scientists?
You have to realize also that the Corps of Engineers survives on high-dollar long-term projects. If they don’t have one they will make one.
Do the longshoremen and stevedores, tugboat and pilot boat crews not see the truth, that there will be more automation, consolidated cargos and maximum efficiency designed to push the profits of the end holders by reducing the level of labor and time required to move the product?
Do citizens fully understand that the Corps of Engineers has stated in writing that the deepening of the channel will have zero effect on the percentage of growth of the Port? This raises the question, “why do we need to do it”?
The answer has nothing to do with the betterment of the community. It has to do with political posturing and profits for stockholders, importers and shipping lines.
Have citizens been given the facts about what it is going to cost the local community to line the pockets of a very few?
Coastal Georgia and its citizenry has never swayed the direction of politics in Atlanta. We are the stepchild of the system.
Don’t believe me? Tell me the name of the last governor of the state of Georgia from any one of the five coastal counties or even adjoining counties.
We are the pawns of the carpetbaggers of the 21st century, some of whom live among us.
The move forward with the deepening of the Savannah River Channel is a shame and a disgrace. It will be like a cancer.
The disastrous end result of the disease will not be known for many years when the culprit, the source, is long gone.
Roy (Hub) Hubbard
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