April 30, 2022

Spring Build Up | April 2022 E-News

Dear Friend,

Spring is a time when new life begins to explode in bee colonies ... and we can totally relate at SCELP this year! New busy workers are joining the team, new resources and opportunities are being diligently foraged and stored for the many new cases and challenges ahead.

I am glad to share that DHEC responded to our petition for rule-making on rural drinking water improvements in a fairly constructive way and we look forward to engaging with the agency over the months ahead (read on for details). On the other hand, the news from the General Assembly is not too encouraging on the funding for conservation, despite the times of fiscal abundance. Hopefully reasonable compromises will be reached by the end of the legislative season, but your Your Lawyers for the Wild Side have more pressing and urgent calls on the judicial front.

Next week Mike Martinez and I will travel to Richmond, VA for oral arguments in the 4th Circuit in our Arabella Farm case, where important provisions of the Clean Water Act are on the line.  That same day, Leslie Lenhardt will argue before the DHEC Board seeking to overrule the staff's decision to permit the Point Farm project on Wadamalaw Island.

Next week is also Palmetto Giving Day, our annual online fundraising drive, and it would be a fantastic encouragement for me and the team if you could participate and spread the word.

Bees are pretty independent creatures, but they can thrive and more widely share the fruits of their labor only when properly cared for. Thank you for being our keepers! 




Amy E. Armstrong

Citizens Rights Are On The Line

Since 2017, hundreds of unlawful discharges of sediment-laden stormwater originating from Arabella Farm have flowed directly into adjacent streams and downstream into the Eastatoe River, Little Eastatoe Creek and Lake Keowee, clogging and degrading valuable water resources that support the area’s trout population and related recreational activities.

Our citizen suit was dismissed by the Federal District Court in Greenville last year and next week we will be arguing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking them to uphold citizens' ability to protect themselves from illegal pollution. You can read more about this case or take a look at our legal briefs, and on Thursday, May 5, you can watch the hearing live.

Our case, Naturaland Trust v. Dakota Finance LLC, is on page 13. Next week the court will add a "listen" link for the specific courtroom for that day.

Let us know if you would like us to share the exact link when available. Learn more... 

Wetland Mitigation Cannot Destroy Wetlands

Wadmalaw residents are seeking the reversal of a critical area permit issued to Point Farm MB, LLC allowing the dredging and excavation of saltmarsh on Wadmalaw Island. 

The developer, Point Farm MB, LLC, seeks to convert brackish and freshwater systems into tidal saltmarsh in order to create a profitable mitigation bank to offset critical area impacts elsewhere. The conversion would involve the removal an existing berm that has created a fully functioning freshwater impoundment. You can read more about this issue on the website of the Wadmalaw Island Planning Committee whose members have been closely monitoring this project for over 3 years.

DHEC Board will hold a Final Review Conference on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 11:00 am in the Board Room (3420), 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, South Carolina. The meeting will be available to the public via livestream. 

Better Rural Water Regulations on the Horizon

“South Carolinians should be provided with drinking water that is consistently clean no matter where they live and granting this Petition will move us closer to that goal,” said staff attorney Ben Cunningham. And DHEC listened.

The Petition filed on behalf of Denmark Cares, Denmark Citizens for Safe Water, Darlington County resident Kim Weatherford, Waccamaw Indian People vice chief Cheryl M. Cail, Sumter resident Lakisha Wade, Summerton resident Ken Harvin, the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina Interfaith Power & Light led DHEC to initiate rule-making on two of the core issues we raised: water storage tank inspections and PFAS-laden industrial sludge.

Although the agency declined to take action on the requested regulatory fix for FIFRA registration for water treatment chemicals to prevent repeating the Denmark debacle (we are considering our options in this regard), they also independently initiated rule-making on lead and copper and our Petition has already provided them with valuable input from several affected communities. We look forward to remaining engaged on these vital issues over the next several months!

Learn more about this issue...

Welcome to the Hive!

This month we welcomed the two latest additions to our fantastic team. Read more about Adelaide and Emily on our website and stay tuned for more!

Palmetto Giving Day

This online giving event and an important source of financial support for our work, is just around the corner, May 3-4. All donations through Palmetto Giving Day are matched up to $50K. We invite you to help us meet our $100K goal by donating or rallying support from your friends and family.

Contact Alison with any questions alison@scelp.org or (843) 527-0078.

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