The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control sent a letter to the S.C. State Ports Authority late last month, asking officials for more information about the impacts of its proposed cruise terminal on Union Pier.
By Matt Tomsic
Published July 26, 2012
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has requested a host of documentation about a proposed cruise terminal’s impact on traffic, air quality, historical buildings and other issues.
On June 29, DHEC sent a letter outlining the documentation needed from the S.C. State Ports Authority, which has six months to respond. In April, DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management held a public hearing in response to a permit application filed by the ports authority to install five pilings on Union Pier, the site of the new cruise terminal.
DHEC Spokesman Adam Myrick said it’s common for the agency to ask for more information from its permit applicants about their projects.
DHEC asked for current cruise operation’s traffic plans and proposed plans or studies that would show the impact on the area.
“Specifically, does the proposed traffic plan increase traffic congestion on neighboring communities?” DHEC wrote.
The agency also asked if cruise ships berthing at the new terminal will be equipped for shore-side power and whether the terminal would be able to provide that power. The port must also provide information about air quality and the emissions effects from cruise ships docked at the terminal.
Other questions included updates to construction plans for the buildings on Union Pier, the total number of ships calling on Union Pier and the project effects on neighboring homes and homeowners.
Ports Authority spokesman Allison Skipper said the port is continuing to work with the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to get its new cruise terminal approved.
The ports authority needs permits from both DHEC and the Army Corps of Engineers, which already issued permits for the pilings automatically under its nationwide permitting rules, classifying the project as maintenance.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is representing conservation and preservation groups in a challenge to that classification in federal court. Attorneys argue the Army Corps mislabeled the project and the nationwide permitting process bypassed public review required by law.