I was excited to report on some recent wins and new battles, and to share a memory or two from my trip to California last week, where I visited with old friends and spent quality time with giant sequoias, sunning elephant seals and playful humpbacks. But the recent one-two (and then some) mass shooting punch has taken all my excitement away.
Gun laws and related debates lie mostly outside of SCELP's scope, but our work for environmental protection and justice only get harder if the current trends of wanton and reckless endangerment of human life continue. This is a uniquely American tragedy and at SCELP, we are all feeling the sorrow and anger that comes along with it.
Last week, we were excited by the news of a settlement between Pickens County and MRR Pickens, a landfill company that was planning to dispose coal ash without notification to Pickens County, neighboring property owners and concerned citizens. The settlement prohibits coal ash disposal in the landfill, along with any hazardous waste or household garbage. Read more background on this issue here. We are glad we could help attain such a good outcome for the people of Pickens County!
This week, we learned that the State Ports Authority will not renew its contract with Carnival Cruise Lines, ending its full-time, year-round cruise ship operations out of Charleston in 2024. This is also great news and we congratulate our allies and many concerned citizens that we have been waging this battle with for almost a decade!
Read on for a glimpse into two significant issues we're tackling in Florence County. And thank you! We couldn't do any of this work without your unwavering support.
We have great news to share in our efforts to protect Bay Point Island in Port Royal Sound from becoming an exclusive luxury resort! After more than a year, we were granted intervention on behalf of the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association, whose members rely on the lands and waters around Bay Point to sustain their families and businesses.
On May 10, Circuit Court Judge Marvin Dukes held a hearing on the merits of Beaufort County Zoning Board’s denial of a special use permit. The very next day he indicated his intent to affirm the County’s decision. We are awaiting a final written Order from the Court, and fully anticipate that the developer will seek an appeal, but we are thankful for this important victory alongside the thousands of citizens who made their objections known.
In the meantime, the Administrative Law Court has scheduled a hearing in June and we will be preparing our arguments that septic tanks are inappropriate for this dynamic and shifting barrier island and should not be permitted. Learn more...
In April, on behalf of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, we filed a challenge to DHEC’s decision to issue certifications to Dominion Energy authorizing construction of a 14.5-mile natural gas main pipeline through several tributaries of the Great Pee Dee River in Florence County where several state and federal species of conservation concern exist. Learn more about this case.
The Army Corps of Engineers is currently undergoing a review of the Nationwide Permit (NWP) process. NWP 12, which serves as a general permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, is designed to streamline the federal permitting process for qualifying oil or natural gas pipeline activities that have “insignificant environmental effects.”
The problem is, many oil and gas pipeline projects do significantly impact our environment. And previous uses of NWP 12 have raised concerns connected to climate change, water quality, and insufficient notice to impacted communities. Even worse, many of the communities companies identify for these projects are already disproportionately affected by pollution and a lack of environmental justice.
Want to make your voice heard? You can be a part of the review process by sending feedback to the Army Corps of Engineers here. But hurry - the deadline is tomorrow, May 27!
Nan Ya Plastics, part of the Taiwanese petrochemical conglomerate Formosa Plastics, wants to walk back a 27-year agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to permanently preserve over five acres of wetlands on its property.
On May 16, SCELP submitted a comment letter to the Army Corps of Engineers and DHEC on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League (read it here).
"On multiple occasions over the years, Nan Ya has agreed to protect these wetlands when there was something in it for them," said Emily Nellermoe, staff attorney. "The deed restrictions are very clear - the promise was to keep the wetlands protected forever."
We think companies should keep their promises and be held accountable when they don't!
We were sad to bid farewell to Lorraine Chow, our Communications Specialist since 2019, when she moved back to her home state of California earlier this year. On May 2, we welcomed our new Communications Manager, Elizabeth Testa, to the team. Read more about Elizabeth on our website!