Strategic priority

Protect water from current and future threats

At SCELP, our goal is to prevent the degradation of South Carolina's water resources by halting pollution and stewarding their availability. We advocate for sustainable surface water and groundwater uses; strive towards conservation and restoration of water quality and aquatic life; and work to advance legal protections for state-of-the art stormwater and floodplain practices.

Support Our Work

No Protection Without Justice

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the landmark law enacted in 1972 in response to the declining state of US waters, including Ohio's Cuyahoga River catching on fire.

Yet fifty years later, water and hazardous chemicals still mix too often, too easily and too predictably in certain ZIP codes. At SCELP, we know that even if pollution and toxic contamination are somewhat localized, we all breathe the same air, drink the same water and live off the same land.

Environmental justice is at its core environmental protection – and the most systemic solution to many environmental problems.

Industrial pollution is still a major problem today simply because major polluters across the nation were allowed to dump in the South and find other sacrifice zones to operate within. Thanks to the early vision and success of SCELP under our founder Jimmy Chandler’s leadership, we were able to force the shutdown of the Safety-Kleen (formerly Laidlaw) Pinewood landfill, the Tyger River incinerator and the Thermal-KEM incinerator in Rock Hill, while also fighting and preventing the creation of mega-dumps in rural Marlboro and Laurens Counties.

And today, we are carrying on Jimmy’s legacy, taking on important cases like challenging DHEC’s authorization to fill Gadsden Creek in Charleston while not giving up on pushing for swift cleanup of the Bramlett site in Greenville’s Southernside community. And we’re advocating for access to safe, affordable and reliable drinking water across the state – asking for limits on harmful PFAS chemicals and for protective regulations for water storage tanks.

While we may not see rivers catching on fire anymore, the disproportionate burden of pollution and environmental harm on marginalized communities must remain front and center, if we are truly looking for systemic solutions to increasingly daunting challenges of worsening environmental crises and climate change.

Environmental Justice Cases & Issues