Life gradually returning to normal as vaccinations ramp up and the pandemic wanes is good and exciting. The time is ripe to build a better world to help protect us from future health or environmental crises.
In practice, we must stop the destruction of our natural resources and habitats. As such, Your Lawyers for the Wild Side were in court twice last month: to preserve Captains Sams Spit and to prevent the expansion of troublesome mining operations in a most sensitive area in Awendaw. While it is nearly impossible to predict how (or when) the Supreme Court will rule based on oral arguments, I feel good about the presentation and reception of our case last month. Fortunately, having secured a stay on any construction pending our appeal, the spit remains protected!
We had quite a different experience with the 2-day trial over the proposed expansion of the King Tract mine. As we await the written order, let’s just say that the Mining Council was deaf to the substantial evidence produced against the reasonableness of the project, which is just an extra reason to support bill H. 3892 to protect our special places.
This month we’ll be back in the Administrative Law Court to protect Beresford Creek floodplain wetlands, which serve critical functions of buffering against stormwater and maintaining water quality. This is an extremely important case that may send ripples all over our coastal region, so please keep reading – there is also more good news from the Court of Appeals. And thank you for supporting our mission!
Wishing you a happy and healthy Earth Month,
Amy E. Armstrong
On behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, Staff Attorney Ben Cunningham is challenging the S.C. Department of Environmental Health Control's (DHEC) issuance of a permit to fill floodplain wetlands for a commercial development along Beresford Creek, one of the largest tributary systems along the Clements Ferry corridor in Charleston. Ben filed a motion for summary judgment (a request for the court to decide all or part of the lawsuit without going to trial because there are no material facts in dispute) after every witness agreed that the proposed project is not water-dependent, meaning DHEC's decision runs contrary to its own rules.
The proposed development is a very bad idea and its authorization is both illegal and exactly the kind of "business-as-usual" we urgently need to unshackle from as we face increased flooding. Learn more...
Here's an easy way you can help protect our special places. Take 5 minutes to ask your Representative to support H. 3892, which would prohibit DHEC from issuing any permit for the construction of a solid waste management facility or mining activities within 2 miles of a public park or other public natural area. Our state and federal parks, preserves, green spaces and other public natural areas provide places for South Carolinians to recreate and enjoy nature, especially during the pandemic, and these precious areas need our protection. Take action now by clicking here!
On February 10, 2021, almost exactly one year after oral arguments, the Court of Appeals delivered us an important victory on our long and winding Arcadia Lakes case. The implications of the ruling are much broader and straightforward than the specific technical issues raised in this relatively small and local case. South Carolina never adopted anti-SLAPP legislation, which makes this opinion all the more important. Read more ...
Save the date! Palmetto Giving Day, an annual online giving event and an important source of financial support for our work, is set for May 4-5th. Last year, we were astonished and humbled by the hundreds of people who gave so generously to SCELP. This year, we invite you to help us meet our $100,000 goal by donating or creating your own fundraising page to rally your friends and family. Click here to learn more and be a champion #ForTheWildSide!
Speaking of champions #ForTheWildSide, meet Karen Sundberg, a researcher for the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences and one of SCELP's biggest advocates.
Karen says, "It would be hard to find a more enthusiastic and determined group of advocates for South Carolina’s natural environment than the crew at SCELP. The ecologist and nature-lover in me appreciates all they do to protect the places I enjoy. SCELP’s many accomplishments, their reliance on science, and the depth of their legal knowledge make it easy to support them. While COVID has created mind-boggling hardships in our community, and I’d much prefer that it never happened, it's gratifying to forward part of my stimulus check to hard-working non-profits like SCELP." Thank you, Karen!
Are you a SCELP donor? We'd love to hear why SCELP is special to you. Share your story with Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured in an upcoming spotlight!