July 22, 2021

Don't Let SC Be The Pits State | E-News for July

Dear Friend,

A recent cartoon by cartoonist (and SCELP favorite) Robert Ariail posed a troubling question: Will South Carolina become known as the Pits State?

A pit, or plutonium pit, is the explosive core of a nuclear bomb. The U.S. government is forging ahead with plans to produce 50 or more of these bomb cores per year at the Savannah River Site's abandoned and costly mixed-oxide fuel facility near Aiken—even though it was never designed for that and will cost billions to repurpose. On top of that, production of another 30 or more pits per year is planned at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. This cross-country production plan would create and strand tons of the most dangerous radioactive waste and cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.  Yet, disturbingly, the government has refused to examine the risks to the environment and public health. After months of demanding that the government take the legally required “hard look” at its pit production plans and getting a flat refusal, SCELP filed a lawsuit under the National Environmental Policy Act to compel the government to take action.

Speaking of pits, this month we also filed concerns with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control over a mining company's proposed quarry pit in Fairfield County that poses significant adverse impacts on surrounding residents, the town of Ridgeway's drinking water and the area's unique ecosystem.

For both pit projects, the full extent of the risks involved are unknown, and the public deserves accountability. Your Lawyers for the Wild Side will continue to fight for what's right and demand answers to safeguard South Carolina's land, water and communities.

I hope you will stand with us and support our work,  

Amy E. Armstrong

Fighting Plutonium Pit Expansion

At a virtual press conference last month, we announced our lawsuit against the Biden administration on behalf of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition challenging the government's plans to more than quadruple the production of plutonium pits in New Mexico and here in South Carolina. Pit production involves the extensive processing and handling of extremely hazardous and radioactive materials. “The environmental risk of there being an accident at either location causing the release of radioactive materials is real, and it would have significant consequences to the surrounding environment and communities,” said staff attorney Leslie Lenhardt. Learn more ... 

Your Voice is Needed to Protect Fairfield County

The Luck Stone Corporation is seeking a permit from DHEC to mine gneiss and granite on a 416.8-acre site for the next 100 years right in the middle of a residential community in Fairfield County and next to the town of Ridgeway's sole well and drinking water source. For such a massive operation, the information in the permit notice is woefully inadequate and there are simply too many unanswered questions to allow Luck Stone’s mine project to proceed. We filed serious objections to the proposed quarry and we need your help in demanding answers. Here's how ...

Settlement Reached for New Hope Community

After a year of work on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League over the proposed Berkeley/Charleston Tradeport, starting with our initial comment letter, and following with extensive negotiations precipitated by our legal challenge in the Administrative Law Court, the developer, NorthPoint, agreed to fund a community center for the New Hope community and to make more concessions and contributions, including $850,000 to the Lord Berkeley Land Trust for future conservation within the Wassamassaw/Great Cypress Swamp watershed, significantly mitigating the impact of their project. The developer also agreed to host yearly meetings with residents throughout construction and until the site is fully occupied so residents can raise additional and/or unforeseen concerns. 

Both Research Planning, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC are sponsoring our annual fundraising event, Wild Side, for the sixth time this year! Their loyal support directly enables our work to protect South Carolina's land, water and communities.

If you would like to join them and our other Wild Side sponsors, or want to donate to our online auction, please contact Alison Geer at alison@scelp.org or 843-527-0078.

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