COLUMBIA — The Savannah River Maritime Commission says South Carolina’s environmental agency improperly approved a permit for the dredging of the Savannah River.

The group voted unanimously Monday to declare the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s decision invalid with no effect of law.

DHEC’s board voted last week to approve a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the Savannah River to allow bigger ships to come through to the Savannah port.

State Sen. Larry Grooms is on the commission and also chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. Grooms says this decision means the case is likely headed to court. The commission also voted to ask Attorney General Alan Wilson to handle the case on its behalf.