Mediation in Savannah River lawsuit delayed

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Settlement talks involving attorneys in a federal lawsuit over the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel have been delayed.

Attorneys were to have started two days of mediation in Charleston on Thursday aimed at settling the suit.

But a court order this week says those sessions have been delayed, after consulting with the attorneys. No reason was given for the delay and no new date has been set.

Former South Carolina U.S. Rep. John Spratt has been appointed to mediate the lawsuit.

Environmentalists say the deepening work needs a South Carolina pollution permit because it will mean toxic cadmium will be dredged from the river and deposited on the South Carolina shore.

The Georgia Ports Authority wants the river deepened to handle larger container ships.