July 6, 2023

Andrew James, WPDE Myrtle Beach

Conservations request DHEC 'Board Review' of permit for Horry Co. mine stalling expansion

Following SCDHEC's approval for a mining company to expand operations in Horry County, the Coastal Conservation League through the South Carolina Environmental Law Project has requested a board review of the permit and approval.

The agency ruled as of Tuesday, June 20, the Edge Road Mine near the Wampee area can continue work, after several concerns from neighbors and conservationists.

"While DHEC appreciates all comments received, it is important to recognize that DHEC does not have the authority to make permitting decisions based on community, business, employee, or customer approval or disapproval of a proposed operation," the agency wrote.

Agency officials added that. in accordance with the SC Mining Act, DHEC is required to grant an operating permit to the applicant if there are no technical reasons to deny the permit.

Conservationists on Wednesday, July 5 filed a formal request for the SCDHEC Board of Directors to review the permit approval.

"Noise pollution from excavating and transporting the sand for years on end is an issue not just for the nearby residents, but for the wildlife of the preserve too,” said Trapper Fowler, Coastal Conservation League’s North Coast Project Manager and Certified Wildlife Biologist. “What is disruptive for people is also disruptive for natural processes such as migration, predator/prey interactions, and mating of our native wildlife.”

The permit allows Soilutions LLC to expand the mine site from roughly 5 acres to more than 20. The depth can also increase to no greater than 50 feet. Company officials also plan to meet several terms and conditions laid out by DHEC following concern by SCDNR over protected reptiles that could inhabit the site since it neighbors Horry County's Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

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