SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – A settlement that would cut down part of the Sullivan’s Island maritime forest has dozens of residents fighting for the future of the project. This fight has led to the town council to hire an outside legal team to review the settlement.
“Let’s see what land management plan is going to protect Sullivan’s Island residents the best, and I bet cutting is not one of them,” says Cyndy Ewing, a resident of Sullivan’s Island for 20 years.
For decades, residents and members of the group “Sullivan’s Island For All” have been fighting to protect the maritime forest, which serves as a home for thousands of animals and a buffer for storm surge.
“In this age of climate change, why would get rid of something that protects us from hurricanes, storm surge and so much more,” says Dan Krosse, a member of Sullivan’s Island For All.
Advocates say they want an independent review to look at the legality of an agreement that seeks to cut down half the forest.
“We want an independent set of eyeballs, to take a look at this settlement that was passed last October and just let us know if this is legal under South Carolina law. There is a lot of questions that people have,” says Krosse.
The current plan would impact hundreds of acres of land to give some residents a better view of the ocean. Those against the plan say they believe that it’s not a good reason to proceed in the project.
“No one has ever documented that they do not have views, and that is very important,” Ewing says.
The years of debate in the settlement has led to group members spending over $100,000 to have an outside land management company draft environmental recommendations.
“We have a booklet, which is the bible on how to manage this land and in no place, no paragraph does it ever say cutting will protect us,” Ewing says.
Town council plans to discuss the next steps of the maritime project at one of their council meetings in October.