Simply stated, the Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to provide transparency and guarantee access to public records of governmental bodies. Each agency maintains its own records, so to obtain a full picture, you should consider issuing a FOIA to the Federal, State and County authorities that may have records about the project of concern.
The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, is the federal freedom of information law in the United States that requires the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased or uncirculated information and documents controlled by the United States government, state or other public authority upon request. You can learn more about federal FOIA requests and how to submit one here: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: The Corps regulates activities in waterways and wetlands under the authority of several Federal laws. The Charleston District of the US Army Corps of Engineers is Federal authority for South Carolina projects that will affect waters, including wetlands, of the United States. If you are concerned about impacts to waters or wetlands on a site, you should consider submitting a FOIA request to the to the Charleston District. This request should be addressed to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office of Counsel
Attn: FOIA Officer
69A Hagood Avenue
Charleston, SC 29403-5107
Written requests may be sent electronically to the following address:
Additional resources on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FOIA Requests:
The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, S.C. Code Ann. §30-4-10, is the law that enables the public to have access to government records that were “prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body” in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is the state agency with authority over issuing permits, certifications, registrations and licenses for activities that could affect the environment and public health such as 401 Water Quality Certification, Navigable Waters Permitting, Nationwide Permits for Minor Projects, Agricultural Permits, Groundwater Withdrawal, Surface Water Withdrawals, Underground Injection Control (UIC), Dams & Reservoirs Permitting, Stormwater Permitting, Quarries, Drinking Water Permitting, Well Permitting for Public Water Supplies, Swimming Pools Permitting, NPDES, Wastewater Construction, Land Application Permitting, and Sanitary Sewers. If you are concerned about a project that may affect the environment in South Carolina, you should consider submitting a FOIA request to DHEC here.
Additional resources on South Carolina FOIA Requests:
In South Carolina, towns, cities and counties have authority over new growth, housing needs, and local environmental protection and each county has ordinances to guide its consideration of a project’s impacts. Each county is subject to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, S.C. Code Ann. §30-4-10, and if you are concerned about a project that may affect the environment in a specific county, town or city, you should consider submitting a FOIA request to the county or municipality where the project will be sited to discover information on the project’s local zoning or planning approval. You can find contact information on individual town, city or county websites.