October 12, 2021

Community Pressure Mounts Against Dominion Energy’s Pamplico Pipeline

Florence County residents and conservation groups are taking a stand against Dominion Energy’s proposed River Neck to Kingsburg 16-inch Gas Main ahead of a crucial public hearing.

On October 14 at 6:30 p.m., the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will hold a virtual public hearing/teleconference for Dominion Energy’s application for a 401 Water Quality Certification for the 14.5-mile pipeline, also known as the Pamplico Pipeline. The agency has also reopened the comment period until October 29.                          

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and community members are urging DHEC to deny water quality certification to the pipeline, as the project has failed to demonstrate that it will satisfy South Carolina state water quality standards.

Construction of the pipeline will impact 32 wetland areas, cross six named tributaries of the Great Pee Dee River and is using eminent domain to take land—including heirs property and lands held by families for generations.

“The precious resources in the vicinity of this proposed project — the water, wildlife, and most importantly, the community — deserve answers on the lasting impact this pipeline could have for the Pamplico community,” said Lauren Megill Milton, a staff attorney for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. “Now is the opportunity to stand up for Pamplico and speak out to DHEC.”

A tributary of the Great Pee Dee River. Photo by Jacob Qualls

Due to Dominion’s history of damaging South Carolina’s water resources, property owner Theresa Hyman said she is concerned that the Pamplico Pipeline will similarly pollute the river, soil and drinking water.

“They are basically destroying our very existence and way of life,” she said.

Opponents to the project are also concerned about the possible human health and wildlife impacts. The Great Pee Dee River is Designated Critical Habitat for Atlantic sturgeon and there are known occurrences of the federally endangered Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon in the river and DNR has records of numerous State Wildlife Action Plan fish species in the streams Dominion proposes to impact, including the American eel, ironcolor shiner, flat bullhead and fieryback shiner. The federally listed Canby’s Dropwort and Boykin’s Lobelia are also known to exist in the area.

“Gas pipelines may leak toxic substances into the soil and drinking water. Wildlife won't survive. There is absolutely no benefit for the community where this pipeline will be located,” said Kathy Andrews, director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “Dominion Energy is targeting this area, filled with heirs property and working-class people because they think they can get away with it. Well, the community won't tolerate environmental racism and the right to live in an environment free of toxic chemicals in the water and air pollution.”

Reatha Jefferson, whose family has owned property in the area for over a century, said, “I don't want a pipeline on our property. I don't want the health problems that come with a pipeline.”

Click here for more information: https://www.scelp.org/cases/dominion-pipeline

Lauren Megill Milton, Esquire
South Carolina Environmental Law Project
lauren@scelp.org, (843) 527-0078

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The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is a nonprofit public interest law firm. We use our legal expertise to protect land, water, and communities across South Carolina.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a regional, community-based, non-profit environmental organization. Our founding principles are earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice, and community empowerment.

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