November 10, 2021

At a Crossroads | November E-News

Dear Friend,

This month, Your Lawyers for the Wild Side held local, state and federal government agencies and officials accountable for failing to follow their own rules, and we stood up for our lands, waters and communities that bear the consequences of this neglect. 

Nationally, we shot back at the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s continued failure to conduct a full review of the public safety and environmental risks of producing nuclear bomb cores in New Mexico and here in South Carolina. In the Upstate, our Oakvale case win should serve as notice to local governments across the state that their laws cannot be ignored without consequences. This is a warning to Dorchester County Council, which abandoned their own conservation zoning rules to greenlight a gas station in the Ashley River Historic District.  

Importantly, you play a crucial role in holding our leaders and decision-makers accountable to the citizens they serve. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will conduct two crucial public hearings for draft water pollution permits for the Cross and Winyah coal-fired power plants this month. We are opposing these permits, which will further expose surrounding waters and communities to toxins like arsenic and mercury. And we are advocating for the closure of these dirty, polluting plants. 

I hope you stand with us. 

Amy E. Armstrong

Legal Action Launched Against Cooks Crossroads Gas Station Approval

Cooks Crossroads sits in the corner of Bacon's Bridge and Ashley River Road and in the floodplain of the Ashley River. Photo by Cori McIntyre.

Comprehensive Plans have been in the news a lot recently, and with increasing frequency and more at stake for our land, water and communities. Dorchester County Council's recent decision to allow a gas station in Cooks Crossing blatantly disregards its own Comprehensive Plan and the design guidelines specifically adopted for this critical gateway to the Ashley River Historic District. We filed a legal action on behalf of the Dorchester Trust Foundation, alleging that the decision by County Council was arbitrary and capricious, violates the state Comprehensive Planning Act and the County’s Comprehensive Plan, and amounts to unlawful spot zoning. Learn more...

Help Protect Waters, Communities Near Coal Plants

Earlier this year, we successfully forced DHEC to revisit long-outdated water pollution permits for Cross Generating Station, Winyah Generating Station and Wateree Steam Station. Draft permits for the coal-fired plants have since been issued, and they still fail to ensure environmental protection and justice for our waters and families living near the plants. Now is your chance to share your concerns with DHEC before it makes a final decision. Here's how.

Big Win Against Blue Ridge Subdivision

Great news! Last week, the Circuit Court issued an order reversing and remanding the Greenville County Planning Commission’s approval of the high-density Oakvale subdivision in the Blue Ridge area, finding that Article 3.1 applied to zoned and unzoned subdivisions alike and that there was insufficient evidence to support the approval. We celebrate this win with our clients, Northern Greenville County Rural Landowners. Read more ...

Firing Back at Feds’ Move to Dismiss Pit Lawsuit

SRS Mox facility. Photo by HighFlyer

We filed a response to the Federal government's motion to dismiss our plutonium pits lawsuit. The government's plan to produce plutonium pits—which would involve extensive processing, handling and transportation of extremely hazardous and radioactive materials—presents a real and imminent harm to our clients and the frontline communities surrounding the production sites. Communities have a right to know the risks they are being asked to bear, and we continue to fight for this “hard look” required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Learn more ... 

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