The three-year legal battle over the constitutionality of the South Carolina Public Service Authority's receiving PWA money to build the Santee-Cooper project set judicial records in the state for the length of briefs filed, the amount of testimony given, and the size of attorneys' fees later billed to the state authority. In addition to challenging the constitutionality of the PWA's financing of public power, the private utility companies sought a permanent injunction against the project on the grounds that it was unrealistically budgeted and impractical in its conception and that therefore Santee-Cooper was a subterfuge by which the Roosevelt administration sought to control the rates set by private utilities. In support of this argument, engineers for the private companies testified that the actual cost of building a power project to the dimensions of Santee-Cooper would be closer to $60 million than to the budgeted $37.5 million. And the engineers denounced in court as "pretensive, illusory, and inconsequential" the plans by the state authority to promote a busy commercial trade up and down the Santee River.
In response, lawyers for the state authority argued that "the navigational features are primary" to the completion of the project and that the flood control, health benefits, and recreational benefits of building the