December 21, 2022

Protecting the Gifts We All Share - December 2022 E-News

Dear Friends,

In 2022, we pushed forward on defending one of the last tidal creeks on the Charleston peninsula from being paved over. We petitioned DHEC for stricter regulations to protect rural drinking water. We acted against an illegal wall of sandbags on Debidue Beach. And so much more!

Even during this busy time of year, SCELP's attorneys and staff have not slowed down. Your Lawyers for the Wild Side have been hard at work preparing for hearings in multiple cases, taking depositions and building arguments to fight Dominion's Pamplico Pipeline and to defend a fragile freshwater ecosystem on Wadamalaw Island.

Thank you for your steadfast support of SCELP's efforts. You truly enable us to continue doing the important work that protects our beloved state and its land, water and communities from environmental harm. I look forward to a 2023 full of new challenges - and successes!

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season.

First Ruling in Gadsden Creek Fight

The first ruling comes in the fight for Gadsden Creek | Photo by Jared Bramblett

On Monday, December 5, Administrative Law Court Judge Ralph K. Anderson, III, ruled to uphold a permit issued by DHEC to WestEdge Foundation, allowing it to proceed with filling and building on Gadsden Creek, a 4-acre tidal creek and saltmarsh system – one of the last remaining on the Charleston peninsula.

"We are disappointed by the Court's ruling and respectfully disagree with many of the conclusions and analyses," said Ben Cunningham, SCELP staff attorney. "We are glad the Court noted that Friends of Gadsden Creek has some valid concerns regarding the proposed project and also rejected the rationale DHEC employed to approve the permit in the first place."

Currently, we're working with our clients, Friends of Gadsden Creek, to determine their next steps. Read more...

It's Official: South Carolina Has a Big PFAS Problem

Pressing forward on protecting water from industrial pollution and toxic PFAS

Earlier this month, DHEC finally published the long-awaited results of PFAS testing across the state, revealing how bad and pervasive the situation is for our state's waterbodies. (Read this great coverage by The State's Sammy Fretwell.) Imagine what would happen to the already unflattering charts below when specific requirements are finally passed for PFAS!

At SCELP, one of our priorities for the coming years is to continue to protect water from current and future threats, including the next steps in our efforts to push for stricter drinking and surface water regulations.

Folly Super Beachfront Case Revving Back Up

Risky development on super beachfront lots should have no place in South Carolina

Due to climate change and sea level rise, oceanfront structures are imperiled on a large scale in our state. Pursuit of development even closer to the sea should be prohibited. Yet, property owners continue to seek quick profit through unsustainable oceanfront development. The results are often disastrous, both for the unlucky purchaser and, especially, for anyone who enjoys using the public beach. This crisis is striking on Folly Beach.

In the wake of Folly’s late‐2018 renourishment, several owners of oceanfront lots that were underwater prior to the renourishment took steps to develop these lots before they inevitably become submerged again.

In response, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the City of Folly Beach, the Coastal Conservation League, Save Folly Beach, and a group of local homeowners to defeat these development efforts. We argued before the Master-in-Equity that artificial renourishment cannot create private land from what was in public ownership, but the judge rejected our claims.

On October 21, 2020, we took this fight to the Court of Appeals to prevent these risky and unwise oceanfront structures from being constructed on public beaches. Over two years later, we anticipate oral argument will finally happen in April of 2023. Read more...

Work for the Wild Side

SCELP currently has open positions for an Environmental Equity & Justice Specialist and a Staff Attorney. Location for these roles is flexible, with office locations in Georgetown, Mount Pleasant, Columbia and Greenville. Learn more...

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