Mon, 20 Jun 2011 12:26:22 GMT — CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina State Ports Authority has signed an agreement with the federal government that allows a study of deepening the Charleston Harbor shipping channel to move forward. Several hundred people turned out Monday in Charleston as ports president and CEO Jim Newsome and Col. Jason Kirk of the Army Corps of Engineers signed the agreement. The study will review options for deepening the channel below its current 45 feet so it can handle larger ships calling when the Panama Canal deepening is finished. Money for the study had been tied up in the congressional battle over budget earmarks. But the corps last month agreed to spend $150,000, allowing it to move forward. Such studies can take eight years, but the corps hopes it can now be completed in four. (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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