S.C. Supreme Court rules citizens have standing to oppose construction of cruise ship terminal

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The S.C. Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling on the Union Pier Cruise Ship Terminal Case.

The Case, which was brought forth by citizens who live near the port, challenged the Department of Environmental Health and Control (DHEC) over “a permit (issued by DHEC) authorizing the construction of a new cruise ship terminal at Union Pier.”

The lower court denied that the citizens had “standing,” or a legal right to challenge the construction.

The groups attempted to establish standing by filing affidavits stating that their members would experience “breathing problems and other adverse health effects; increases in hazardous diesel soot; and increases in noise, traffic, and water pollution” as well as decreased property value. The lower court still did not believe that the group qualified as “affected persons.”

The Supreme Court reversed the decision, finding that the citizens did have standing, noting: “if nearby property owners who have made individualized assertions of real, anticipated harm cannot satisfy the…’affected person’ status,” no one can.

The Supreme Court went on to order the Administrative Law Court (ALC) to “establish a reasonable schedule for investigating the case and conducting discovery.”

Additionally, the Supreme Court reversed the sanctions imposed against the groups by the ALC.

Executive Director of the S.C. Environmental Law Project, Amy Armstrong, said that the case is “a resounding victory for citizens and groups throughout S.C. who seek to protect their communities from environmental degradation authorized by a DHEC permitting decision.”

For more information about the case, the case numbers are:  

  • Supreme Court 2018-000137
  • Appellate Court 2014-000847
  • Lower Court 2013-ALJ-07-0056-CC

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