January 12, 2022

Laws Must Be Followed, By Everyone | January E-News

Dear Friend,

I hope your 2022 is off to a great start. After a banner year of major legal victories, Your Lawyers for the Wild Side kicked off the year taking action against harmful projects and destructive mining. 

Along the coast, we are again facing beachfront property owners who have violated clear regulatory prohibitions against ill-conceived erosion control structures. These out-of-state owners illegally installed a massive sandbag seawall on Debidue Beach, leading the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to initiate an enforcement action. After a year of evading compliance, these owners next sought to allow the illegal wall to remain under the guise of an "experiment." Fortunately, DHEC staff rejected this request, but four homeowners have appealed to the DHEC Board, who will soon decide on whether this structure stays or remains. I need your help in urging for its immediate removal to prevent a damaging precedent for our state's beaches. 

Over in York County, the community is facing the prospect of a 70-year granite mining operation that stands to destroy a tributary of Fishing Creek and risk contaminating the private wells that many residents depend on. The fate of the massive rock quarry is in the hands of the county's Zoning Board of Appeals, and I similarly need you to join us in speaking out against this project.   

Many people set resolutions for the new year. For the SCELP team, we resolve to keep fighting for South Carolina land, waters and communities. I hope we can continue counting on your support. 

Wishing you a happy new year,

Amy E. Armstrong

Tell the DHEC Board That This Beach is Our Beach

The Post & Courier Editorial Staff wrote, "what’s most shocking is not how threatened the homes are by erosion. It’s how blatantly the homeowners are violating state law."

South Carolina's beaches belong to the public, not just the privileged few. And as sea levels rise and our beaches experience worsening erosion, the tension between public and private property mounts. Nowhere is that tension more palpable than on Debidue Beach where homeowners built a wall of sandbags, also called geotubes, which are prohibited by state law. Because these structures are illegal, the property owners are now casting the sandbag wall as a "scientific experiment" and asking the DHEC Board to overturn the staff's denial of the experimental approval. With our longstanding partners at the Coastal Conservation League, we submitted our factual and legal arguments (download here) to support the staff's expert and well-reasoned decision, which will be considered at tomorrow's DHEC Board meeting at 4 p.m. Join us in this effort!

Massive Rock Quarry Proposed in York County  

On behalf of Protect Fishing Creek, we called on the York County Zoning Board of Appeals to reject the proposed Langham Branch Creek Quarry. If approved, this project will expand the current site ten times in size, turning the existing 34.4-acre sand mine to a 371.43-acre granite quarry until 2094. The quarry is in the known vicinity of several threatened or endangered species and would destroy nearly 2,000 linear feet of a tributary associated with Fishing Creek. “Quarries are environmentally damaging. Again, not only the water quality impacts that they could have but the impacts it could have on people’s way of life," staff attorney Lauren Megill Milton told FOX 46. Learn more... 

Meet SCELP's New Externs, Madison and Max!

Two new externs joined us for the Spring semester! Meet Madison Martin, who worked in SCDNR's Inshore Fisheries section for two years before deciding to pursue a JD at the University of South Carolina School of Law. The second-year law student is boosting our fight for environmental protection and justice. We're also joined by Max Redfoot, a second-year student at the Charleston School of Law. He says he's been passionate about protecting our natural resources since childhood, adding, "I am grateful and excited to help SCELP with the incredible work they do!" Welcome to the team, Madison and Max!

Chandler Legacy Society

We are very grateful for the 11 donors who joined the Chandler Legacy Society in 2021. Like the society's namesake and SCELP founder, James S. (Jimmy) Chandler, Jr., they are staunch advocates for the environment and are making a difference now and in the future. Thanks to their legacy gifts, SCELP's work will continue for many generations to come! You can learn more here and if you have already included SCELP in your will, trusts or estate plans you can give us a call 843-527-0078 or let us know here. We'd love to thank you in person!

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