Happy first week of spring! The beautiful flowers, greening marsh grasses and fresh spring breezes all remind me of some of the reasons South Carolina is such an incredible place that is worth protecting.
Development pressures on Pine Island continue to threaten the way of life of the Gullah/Geechee people who call St. Helena Island home. The new owners of Pine Island, in yet another attempted "workaround" of the existing Cultural Protection Overlay, have subdivided the property and are now seeking to build six-hole golf courses on each of the three subdivided lots (the overlay specifically prohibits courses with nine holes or more). We agree wholeheartedly with the recent Post & Courier editorial, which advocates for protecting the island’s special history and living Gullah/Geechee community and culture from gated golf course resorts that are known to destroy them.
SCELP's Lawyers for the Wild Side have also been getting ready for another challenge to a DHEC permit in the Administrative Law Court, this time on Point Farm.
Below, you'll also be able to read about an opportunity to let your voice be heard on Duke Energy's future clean-up method for the Bramlett Road Site in Greenville. I hope you'll take advantage, and that you know how valuable your efforts are to our organization - your desire to protect our state's land, water and communities fuels our own.
Our tenacious Lawyers for the Wild Side are headed back to Administrative Law Court next week! We are representing the Coastal Conservation League and local Wadmalaw Island residents in challenging a DHEC permit that authorizes dredging and excavating critical area salt marsh in order to convert two ecologically valuable brackish and freshwater ponds into salt marsh, as part of a larger proposal to create a mitigation bank on Wadmalaw Island in Charleston County.
The project as permitted would disrupt the established habitat of birds, plants, and other aquatic species, including the threatened Wood Stork. Read more...
On March 14, the EPA finally released their proposed maximum contaminant limits (MCLs) for the toxic "forever chemicals," collectively known as PFAS, as a way to protect drinking water from contamination, which has been a major problem in our country and in South Carolina for decades.
"The EPA's publication of the proposed MCLs and Hazard Index is a welcome step in protecting the public from substances that are known to cause many adverse health effects, including cancer," said SCELP attorney Ben Cunningham. "Safe drinking water is something that we should never take for granted and we look forward to DHEC moving forward with additional measures to protect the water quality of South Carolina and the health of South Carolinians."
The EPA move is the biggest proposed change to drinking water regulation in a generation and is welcomed news for overall water quality efforts, especially in rural areas. After engaging with DHEC for over two years on the need to step up our state action on PFAS and other threats to drinking water, waiting for the EPA is one less excuse for inaction! Read more...
The Bramlett Road Site sits at the crossroads of rapid new development near Unity Park and historic neighborhoods that have been a part of the heartbeat of Greenville for centuries. The extensive contamination there – with carcinogens in the soil, sediment, and groundwater at concentrations exceeding residential risk standards by as much as 220 times – must be removed without further delay.
At the end of 2022, Duke Energy released a Feasibility Study Work Plan as part of their Voluntary Cleanup Contract with DHEC. This will inform future cleanup efforts at the site. SCELP is advocating for the full excavation of all contaminated soil and sediment, including the Vaughn Landfill, and a pump and treat system to restore the groundwater. You can help by sharing your input with DHEC and Duke Energy! Even if you don't live in Greenville County, your comments can make a difference because advocacy for cleaning up legacy contamination has ripple effects across the state.
Here's how you can help:
We are so excited to welcome our new Legal Assistant, Jaya Wragg! Jaya has always been interested in the legal field and started working in law in 2018. Her first law office job was at Bell Legal Group, a firm that took on environmental cases from time to time, and after experiencing some problems with water quality at home, she was driven to get involved in the fight for the Wild Side. Learn more about Jaya.