S.C. State Ports Authority intervenes in cruise lawsuit

Staff Report
Published Feb. 4, 2013

The S.C. State Ports Authority is intervening in a federal lawsuit filed against the Army Corps of Engineers over a permit issued for the port’s new cruise terminal on Union Pier.

A federal judge gave the ports authority permission to enter the lawsuit Wednesday, and a day later, it filed an answer to the lawsuit. The ports authority denied much of the lawsuit’s accusations, which include an argument that the Army Corps of Engineers mislabeled the work on the new terminal as a maintenance project.

In July, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the Preservation Society of Charleston and the Coastal Conservation League.

The Army Corps of Engineers was the only defendant named in the lawsuit until the ports authority intervened. By labeling the project as maintenance, the lawsuit argues, the Army Corps bypassed public review for the project and issued a permit for pilings needed for the new terminal.

The permit covers new pilings that are needed for foundational support.

The maintenance classification allowed the corps to issue the permit without public notice and public hearings. The lawsuit argues the project is not a maintenance project and should go through a public review and public notification process.

“Issuing a maintenance permit to do work to convert a defunct cargo warehouse is a problem,” said Blan Holman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, when the lawsuit was filed. “The point is to bring this above-board.”

Previous coverage

Groups file lawsuit over cruise terminal

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