September 22, 2022

Wild (Side) and Wonderful - September 2022 E-News

Dear Friend,

What a pleasure to see so many new and familiar faces on Saturday evening under the sparkling oaks of Kaminski House at our 13th Annual Wild Side event! I was delighted to gather together with a common purpose - to celebrate the work of our Lawyers for the Wild Side and raise the funds to allow us to continue our mission in an even bolder way.

It's hard to believe that summer is over, but we are entering fall on the heels of important victories. Our 4th Circuit Court of Appeals victory is the perfect way to move into the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act next month, and our continued engagement with the Comprehensive Planning process in Georgetown County is a great opportunity to prioritize natural resources in long-range planning. Resiliency goals and strategies are increasingly needed as we adapt to a changing climate and rising seas.

Of course, our top-notch legal work can only be accomplished with adequate funding, and I am most grateful for the many of you who have already stepped up to back our strategic expansion. You will hear more about it in the weeks to come, but let me thank you one more time: SCELP is so much stronger and South Carolina so much better because of you!

Wild (Side) and Wonderful

Photos by Tanya Ackerman/Chasing the Light Photography and Elizabeth Testa

Another great Wild Side is in the books, and another fundraising record has been set! The 13th annual event was held on Saturday, September 17 on the Kaminski House lawn in the heart of historic Georgetown. Nearly 250 guests enjoyed an evening of live music from Columbia-based pop-folk duo Prettier Than Matt, delicious cuisine from Root, cocktails and a fabulous online auction.

This year's featured speaker, author Virginia Christian Beach, shared her insight and appreciation into the importance of protecting land, water and communities, and offered her own compelling, personal reasons for being an advocate for SC's wild side.

The SCELP team thanks the many businesses, organizations, volunteers, friends and family who made this year's Wild Side possible. We couldn't have pulled it off without you! Your generous support allows our attorneys to keep fighting for the Wild Side of South Carolina that we all know and love so dearly.

Arabella Farm Victory Stands!

Holding Upstate polluters accountable for the tons of sediment dumped into the Little Eastatoee River

We learned earlier this month that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Arabella Farm's petition for rehearing, so our victory stands!

Now that the 4th Circuit reversed the dismissal, and denied Arabella Farm's petition for rehearing, this case will return to U.S. District Court where we can hold the owners accountable for the significant water quality damage they caused to Upstate trout streams. (The defendants may try to involve the U.S. Supreme Court, but we're ready and determined to see this through to the finish line.)

SCELP is happy to celebrate this ruling on behalf of Upstate Forever, South Carolina Trout Unlimited and Naturaland TrustRead more...

Update on Gadsden Creek

A white egret enjoys a moment of rest on the banks of Gadsden Creek

Following the trial on Gadsden Creek that was held in June to try to save the creek on behalf of Friends of Gadsden Creek, we awaited the trial transcript and then got to work researching, analyzing and writing.

Last week, we submitted our proposed order to the Court - over 40 pages detailing our factual and legal arguments. While we await the ALC's ruling, our allies have been hard at work keeping the pressure on the City of Charleston to explore other options.

The Gadsden Creek case is extremely important because of the historical environmental injustices that the Gadsden Green community has been shouldered with for years, as well as the legal implications of DHEC failing to apply several statutory and regulatory provisions governing our critical areas and water quality.

We will continue to keep you updated on this case and its outcome, and please know that we couldn't do this important work without your support! Read more...

Georgetown County Planning Process

A Wetland Protection Ordinance is a key part of SCELP's proposed additions

Georgetown County has finally begun making progress towards the adoption of a new Comprehensive Plan, which is already years overdue. With Staff Attorney Emily Nellermoe taking the lead, SCELP has been deeply engaged in the process and is making sure that meaningful and enforceable goals are set to protect Georgetown County's waterways, open space and exceptional wildlife habitat.

Some of our key proposals include:

  • Reducing litter through a single use plastic bag ban  
  • Incentivizing and requiring developers to use sustainable, ecologically-sound materials and designs by incorporating elements like rain gardens, bioswales, and pervious surfaces
  • Strengthening the County Tree Ordinance
  • Enacting a Wetland Protection Ordinance that increases protection for these valuable systems that buffer us from floods, protect water quality and support wildlife

As more and more people move to the coast, pressure from over-development has never been higher. That, coupled with a changing climate and rising sea levels, all means that this is a matter of urgent public interest. SCELP is committed to engaging in the Comprehensive Plan process through all its phases and will hold decision-makers accountable when necessary. We hope to replicate this effort as other counties begin work on their mandatory 10-year updates. Stay tuned for more as the process continues! Send Emily Nellermoe an email you'd like to learn more or help us engage in the process.

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