Charleston terminal pollution claim dismissed

24 Oct 2017
Port of Charleston

South Carolina Ports want to build a cruise terminal at Union Pier in Charleston

A legal attempt to block the building of a cruise ship terminal in Charleston on environmental grounds has been rejected.

The South Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling that opponents of the terminal do not have a legal right to stop South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) from issuing a construction permit for the terminal’s proposed Union Pier location, South Carolina Ports (SPC) confirmed.

SPC stated: “Our analysis continues to show that a modern and more efficient cruise terminal at the northern end of Union Pier will actually lessen the impacts of cruise vessels in Charleston. We have and will continue to adhere to all aspects of the Voluntary Cruise Management plan agreed upon with the City of Charleston in 2010.”

Pollution concerns

Opponents, which include environmental and neighbourhood groups, have said the terminal would increase traffic congestion and create pollution from ships that would affect nearby historic residential areas.

But according to The Post and Courier, The Appeals Court, in its ruling, said the groups did not provide any evidence that they would suffer direct harm from a new terminal. Instead, they "presented only speculative claims that the proposed passenger terminal would adversely affect their property values and businesses."

The SPA now need a federal permit, which would be issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to proceed with the project.

SPC said: “We continue to work diligently toward receiving the required federal permit from the Army Corps of Engineers...”

On its website, SPC, stated the Port of Charleston is restoring and adding 22 acres of tidal marshes, reducing port-related air emissions and funding two air monitoring stations, alongside continuing partnerships with organisations including the Lowcountry Open Land Trust and Center for Birds of Prey.