Two States Fight over Public Use: South Carolina and Georgia Face Off over Seaport
The main condemnation controversy in South Carolina revolves around one County’s attempt to condemn public land—5,880 acres owned by the State of Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)—for private development. Officials in Jasper County want to build “Global Gateway”, a giant $1.2-billion shipping terminal on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River that will compete with a rival terminal Georgia is building on its side of the river.1 The terminal would be owned by a private shipping company, and the development would also include other privately owned industrial and commercial business enterprises.2 Georgia challenged the condemnation, arguing that Jasper County did not have a valid “public purpose” in taking its land for use by private commercial interests. However, in April 2002 a South Carolina state circuit judge ruled in favor of the County.3 Georgia appealed the decision, and the case is currently before the South Carolina Supreme Court. Georgia vows that it is willing to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent its neighboring state from condemning its property for private use.4
1 Bruce Smith, “Company’s Move Eliminates Jasper Site for Global Gateway,” AP Wire, Sept. 22, 2000.
2 “County Council Takes Step to Create a Port in Jasper,” AP Wire, Nov. 18, 2000.
3 Tony Bartelme, “Judge Boosts Jasper County Terminal Plan,” The Post & Courier (Charleston, S.C.), Apr. 4, 2002, at 1A.
4 Jingle Davis, “Georgia Fights S.C. Plan for a Private Seaport,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Apr. 21, 2002, at 1C.