Court Affirms Ruling in Favor of S.C. Ports

October 23, 2008

CHARLESTON, SC – October 23, 2008 – Once again, the S.C. Coastal Conservation League’s legal challenge to permits for the new Navy Base Terminal and Port Access Road has come up short.

Today, the South Carolina Court of Appeals upheld an Administrative Law Court (ALC) order that dismissed challenges to the permits.

We’re pleased with the opinion and are ready to move on, said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president & CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA).  “Every state and federal permitting agency that reviewed this project has signed off.”

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals agreed with a previous ruling in favor of the SCSPA and the S.C. Department of Transportation.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued water quality permits for the terminal and road in late 2006.  Early last year, the S.C. Coastal Conservation League (SCCCL) sought to challenge both permits before the DHEC Board.

Although the Board heard the merits and upheld the staff decision to issue the permits, the SCCCL then filed contested cases with the ALC.

The SCSPA argued that the SCCCL did not follow the law and was late in filing its request for final review at the ALC.  The ALC agreed and dismissed the SCCCL’s challenges.  The SCCCL then filed a motion for reconsideration, once again after the time for such an action had expired.

In its opinion, the Court noted that the SCCCL did not file the appeal within the legal time period and even failed to request notification of the staff decision to issue the permit.

The Court also found that the SCCCL’s due process rights were not violated because it failed to comply with established procedures that would have entitled it to notification.

Meanwhile, development of the new Navy Base Terminal is advancing.  The early phases of building demolition are complete and site preparation is well underway.  In July, work began to install 662 miles of wick drains at the terminal site to prepare the land for construction.

“Port expansion is vital to the long-term economic health of the Charleston area and the entire state of South Carolina,” said Groseclose.  “It’s essential that we press on with this project.”

The Court’s opinion is available on-line at: