Officials provide update on SC harbor deepening

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is joining maritime leaders for a scheduled discussion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project after recent developments in Washington.

Graham is set to join State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome and John Litz, the district engineer for the Charleston District of the Corps of Engineers for a news conference Friday in Charleston.

The U.S. House and Senate have passed versions of the Water Resources Development Act. A committee now will work out the differences which officials say could affect the Charleston project.

Maritime interests want the channel deepened from its current 45 feet to 50 feet to handle larger container ships. The project is estimated to cost up to $350 million.

A draft environmental impact statement is expected from the Corps next year.