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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Two days of court-ordered mediation are slated to get under way in a federal lawsuit challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel.

|Attorneys for both sides are scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday in Charleston in sessions overseen by former South Carolina U.S. Rep. John Spratt.

Environmental groups say the deepening needs a South Carolina pollution permit because the dredging will remove toxic cadmium and deposit it on the South Carolina shore.

The state Supreme Court last month invalidated a federal clean water certification issued by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told Congress it wants an exemption from the requirement that the state certify the project.

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