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      Corps says cuts could delay SC harbor deepening

      The engineer for the Charleston District of the Army Corps of Engineers says automatic federal spending cuts could delay the $300 million effort to deepen the Charleston Harbor shipping channel.

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The engineer for the Charleston District of the Army Corps of Engineers says automatic federal spending cuts could delay the $300 million effort to deepen the Charleston Harbor shipping channel.

      Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne told reporters Tuesday that deepening the channel is a top priority for the district. But he warned required studies for the project could be delayed if the district has to furlough workers beginning next month.

      Chamberlayne said it's not entirely clear what the impact of the cuts, also called sequestration, will be on the district and the project.

      A draft environmental impact study is expected next year. But there's a chance that could be delayed and the entire project moved back if fewer workers can work fewer hours on the deepening project.