Volume 23 No.2
Conservation League Summer FIELD TRIPS s 3OLAR 4AX #REDIT s #ONSERVATION "ANK 2ESCUE s 4HE 3OLUTION s "ISHOP 'ADSDEN 'ARDENERS s
Our Energy Future
A Civil Discussion on Energy Policy
STAFF ____________________ Director Assistant Director
Dana Beach Megan Desrosiers
REGIONAL OFFICES _____ ________________ SOUTH COAST Office Director Steve Eames Project Manager Reed Armstrong
NORTH COAST Office Director Nancy Cave
Office Director Patrick Moore Govt. Relations Coordinator Merrill McGregor Project Manager Ryan Black
_______PROGRAMS _____________ Program Directors Hamilton Davis
Project Manager GrowFood Carolina
Kate Parks Lisa Turansky Sandy Hillyer Katie Zimmerman Sara Clow Jessica Diaz
DEVELOPMENT ____________________ Director of Development Courtenay Speir Senior Development Officer Catherine McCullough Events Manager Amanda Cole
ADMINISTRATION ______________ ______ HR and Administration Director of Finance Data Manager Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant
Tonnia Switzer-Smalls Ashley Waters Nora Kravec Louann Yorke Bea Girndt
Board of Directors Roy Richards, Chair William Cogswell Alex Marsh Andrea Ziff Cooper James R. McNab, Jr. Berry Edwards Richard R. Schmaltz Richard T. Hale Jeffrey Schutz Katharine Hastie Harriet Smartt Hank Holliday Stan Stevens Holly Hook John Thompson W. Jefferson Leath Bill Turner Patricia W. Lessane Victoria C. Verity
Advisors and Committee Members Paul Kimball Hugh Lane Jay Mills
Newsletter Editor Virginia Beach Designer Julie Frye
P.O. Box 1765 Q Charleston, SC 29402 Phone: (843) 723-8035 Q FAX: (843) 723-8308 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.CoastalConservationLeague.org P.O. Box 1861 QBeaufort, SC 29901 Phone: (843) 522-1800 1001 Washington Street, Suite 300 Q Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 771-7102 P.O. Box 603 Q Georgetown, SC 29442 Phone: (843) 545-0403 All contents herein are copyright of the Coastal Conservation League. Reprinting is strictly prohibited without written consent.
Cover Photo by Dana Beach
funny thing happened on the way to the energy forum this spring. Politicians forgot to spout partisan ideologies; utilities forgot to threaten job-killing price increases; government officials forgot to equivocate, and environmentalists forgot to be unreasonable. (Actually, I don’t think environmentalists have been unreasonable, but for the sake of consistency, let’s stipulate that they may have, on occasion, over-reached.) A coalition called Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy hosted a day-long conference at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston this spring, entitled Managing Risk and Realizing Opportunity for South Carolina’s Energy Economy. The goal was to explore how to prepare for a future of rising energy costs, rapid technological innovation, political uncertainty and climate change. It is tiresome to hear how poorly South Carolina ranks on various measures of performance, so I’ll get this one over with right away: We spend more money on energy than all but five other states in the country for every dollar of GSP (gross state product). This tracks the statistic we’ve cited often, that South Carolina is the fourth least energy efficient state in the nation. Bottom line, we are wasteful, and that’s bad for the economy and the environment. It is important to note that high energy prices are not the reason energy represents such a large proportion of our operating costs. Gas and electric rates in South Carolina are actually below average. But nationwide, many states with low prices, like us, have high bills; while states with high prices have low bills. California, for example, has the 11th highest energy costs in the country, but its bills are the tenth lowest.
Our Energy Future
Higher prices are clearly an incentive to conserve, but national data take us one step further. In some circumstances, higher prices stimulate enough conservation to actually reduce total energy expenditures. (To jog your memory of Econ 101, this means that the demand for energy is relatively elastic with respect to price.) So, while higher energy costs are painful in the short term, they may result in savings over time. Now, back to the conference. The primary purpose was not to criticize where we are today, but to help decide where we would like to be in the future, and how we can get there. Not surprisingly, improving energy efficiency is the first and most effective step we can take to protect us from price shocks and pollution. As Jim Rogers, head of Duke Energy, has said, “the most environmentally benign plant we can build is the one we don’t have to build.” South Carolina also has substantial opportunities in the field of renewable energy production. Boeing has installed the sixth largest solar array in the country on the roof of its new plant in North Charleston, and the Clemson drive train testing facility is one of the nation’s most important wind power research initiatives. If you followed the national climate debate in Congress a few years ago, you might guess what happened at the South Carolina conference. The participants threw ideological jabs at one another, deployed fear tactics about the economic impact of energy legislation and completely ignored the pressing need for policy reforms. But they didn’t. Senator Paul Campbell, who has been a leader in the S.C. Senate on energy matters, set the tone for a thoughtful, analytical and respectful discussion. Panelists from Duke Energy, the S.C. Electric
Not surprisingly, improving energy efficiency is the first and most effective step we can take to protect us from price shocks and pollution. As Jim Rogers, head of Duke Energy, has said, “The most environmentally benign plant we can build is the one we don’t have to build.” Cooperatives and the S.C. Energy Office presented practical perspectives on the best paths toward a clean energy future. Former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis gave the luncheon address in which he persuasively argued that solving our energy problems is a cause that should be central to the conservative political agenda. And the answer, for a dozen reasons, is not “Drill, Baby, Drill.” Not one political stunt was pulled. No names were called, and the sky did not fall. It was just a factual, thoughtful, constructive discussion. In this instance, Congress could learn a lot from South Carolina.
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Solar Tax Credit & Building Codes for SC
This spring, the Coastal Conservation
Updated Building Codes Signed Into Law
League energy staff – Hamilton Davis
and Ryan Black – and the League’s legislative liaisons – Patrick Moore and Merrill McGregor – teamed up to work with the PURC Energy Advisory Council, the Homebuilders Association, members of the solar industry, and legislators to update
ince 2010, Conservation League Energy Director Hamilton Davis has served on the Energy Advisory Council of the Public Utility Review Committee (PURC), which was tasked with making recommendations for a comprehensive energy policy for South Carolina. One focus of the PURC Energy Advisory Council was to update the state’s building codes to reflect International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards. Up until now, South Carolina has been using 2006 IECC standards for the state’s building codes. As a result, South Carolinians are missing out on the latest technologies and building practices that could improve their energy efficiency and save them money on their electric bills. So the PURC Energy Advisory Council worked with the Home Builders Association to conduct an analysis of the impacts of updating the state’s building codes to the 2009 IECC standards.
South Carolina’s building codes and increase the state’s solar tax credit. Such measures will encourage and incentivize efficiency and renewables, and reduce our dependence on imported, finite commodities like
ENERGY CODE BENEFITS U U U
When rolled into a mortgage, new homeowners realize a payback on their investment within an average of seven months; Subsequent net annual savings of $184 per year, and A five-year profit of $817.
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Energy News Increased Solar Tax Credit Passes House, Stalls in Senate
The analysis definitively argued in favor of adopting 2009 IECC standards. A recommendation for adoption was sent to the full Public Utility Review Committee and was unanimously accepted. Introduced by Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee), H.4639 – International Energy Conservation Code Adoption – passed through the Judiciary Committee and received third reading in the Senate by a vote of 30 to 12. On April 2nd, Governor Haley signed the bill into law, which will go into effect on January 1st, 2013. Adoption of the 2009 IECC standards will result in an estimated five-year savings of more than $800 for the average new home in South Carolina. Cumulatively, the new standards will help avoid 47 trillion BTUs of annual energy use by 2030, which equates to roughly 14,000 megawatt hours each year. Special thanks go to Rep. Sandifer, as well as to Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee) and other members of the Public Utilities Review Commission for their vision and support.
eague Project Manager Ryan Black and Government Relations Coordinator Merrill McGregor have worked with legislators and members of the state’s solar industry for the last two years to increase South Carolina’s existing solar tax credit from 25% to 35%. The proposed increase would make this source of renewable energy more attractive to homeowners and private developers and would encourage investment in solar installations. It would also elevate South Carolina’s tax credit to be on par with that of North Carolina and Georgia, ensuring that the state remains regionally competitive in the solar market.
Last year, Rep. Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville) introduced H.3346, the Solar Energy Investment Tax Credit, which would allow a 35% state tax credit for the installation of solar energy equipment for both residential and commercial purposes placed in service in 2012 and later. After passing through the House of Representatives in 2011 by a vote of 100 to 10, H.3346 had been slowly, but steadily, progressing through the Senate in 2012. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to convince Senate leadership of the urgent need to increase solar investment, the bill ultimately stalled there twice, once as a standalone bill in the full Senate Finance Committee, and again as an amendment to S.1409, which was not taken up on the Senate floor prior to the end of the session.
SCE&G to Close Six CoalFired Power Plants by 2018
ast month, S.C. Electric & Gas Company announced that it will shut down six of its coal-fired generating units by the end of 2018. All of the units range in age from 45 to 57 years and are SCE&G’s oldest and smallest coal-fired operations. “The elimination of these plants will improve the health of our rivers and lakes, and the atmosphere, dramatically over the coming decades,” comments Conservation League Director Dana Beach. “Virtually every coastal river is contaminated with mercury levels that limit fish consumption for health reasons. “Coal burning power plants are also a primary source of greenhouse gases. We expect additional plant closures from other S.C. utilities in the near future. The speed of plant closure will depend on the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs and the aggressiveness with which we pursue renewable energy technologies.”
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New Report Cautions Against Business As Usual
ncreasing spending on energy efficiency, distributed generation and renewable energy lowers the risk and cost of utility resource investments.”
Utilities Must Begin the Shift Away from Traditional Power Generation
ver the next 20 years, electric utilities will likely spend $100 billion per year, adding up to roughly $2 trillion, on capital investments to replace aging power plants, implement new technologies, and meet new regulatory requirements. But this spending, whether on energy efficiency, renewable energy or new fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, must reflect new global realities if utilities are to avoid adverse impacts on their own bottom lines, as well as on ratepayers and investors. That’s the conclusion of a new Ceres Foundation report, Practicing Risk-Aware Electricity Regulation: What Every State Regulator Needs to Know. The report, authored by industry and finance veterans, examines the options and finds almost without exception, the riskiest investments – the ones that could cause the most financial harm for utilities, ratepayers and investors – are large baseload power facilities (e.g. coal and nuclear plants). Increasing spending on energy efficiency, distributed generation and renewable energy lowers the risk and cost of utility resource investments. “This is no time for backward-looking decision-making,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, which commissioned the report. “Diversifying utility portfolios by expanding investment in energy efficiency and clean energy reduces risk to utility customers and shareholders alike.” “There is a lot on the line and it’s critical that utilities and regulators get it right,” said Ron Binz, the report’s lead author and a 30-year veteran of utility and energy policy, most recently as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. “A regulator’s analysis should not stop with the levelized cost of a resource: The risk of the resource to ratepayers and investors must be considered as well. Of all the options we reviewed, nuclear power is the riskiest option and energy efficiency is the least risky and lowest cost option.”
[The Ceres Foundation was founded in 1989 in response to the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. Its mission is to mobilize investor and business leadership to build a thriving, sustainable global economy. Ceres challenges the business community to envision a world in which business and the capital markets promote the well-being of human society and the protection of the Earth’s environment.]
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Energy News Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference Promoting Our Most Abundant Renewable Resource
orking with organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, Conservation League Energy Director Hamilton Davis helped spearhead the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference held in Charlotte this spring. The conference highlighted the supply chain advantages found in the Southeast as they relate to the manufacturing of wind turbines. The conference generated significant media attention and was well attended by representatives from the private sector and government.
Hamilton Davis, Energy Champion
he Washington, DC-based Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) named Hamilton Davis, Energy & Climate Director of the Costal Conservation League, as this quarter’s BCAP Energy Code Champion. Hamilton’s tireless leadership in South Carolina drove the passage and adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in the S.C. General Assembly this year. As a member of the Public Utility Review Commission’s (PURC) Energy Advisory Council, Hamilton was able to identify and make energy codes a priority of the advisory group. He worked closely with the S.C. Energy Office, the S.C. Home Builders Association and numerous other organizations to bring everyone to the table to ensure a fair and balanced discussion on the adoption of energy codes. “Updating our building energy codes is helping to pave the way for a more energy efficient future in South Carolina. This success is a testament to the value of collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from BCAP to our state’s electric cooperatives,” states Hamilton, who, in addition to sitting on the PURC Energy Advisory Council, also serves on the S.C. Offshore Wind Regulatory Task Force, the S.C. Energy Office Advisory Council, and the S.C. Solar Business Alliance.
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia have:
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82% of the East Coast resource in shallow water and greater than 12 miles offshore; Highest estimated offshore wind capacity factors; Five deepwater ports; The lowest offshore wind construction costs on the East Coast; Four of the five largest electricity markets on the East Coast, and Four of the five fastest growing populations on the East Coast.
New Website & E-Newsletter The Coastal Conservation League’s energy team has developed a straightforward, user-friendly website – www.thinkenergysc.com - to serve as a clearinghouse for all relevant, energy-related news. ThinkEnergySC was created to inform South Carolinians about the array of complex issues surrounding energy in our state. We hope to provide the general public with the most up-to-date news, academic and industry research, in-depth analysis of energy technologies, project development, and public policy. We will also explore the benefits and challenges of transitioning to clean, sustainable forms of energy generation so as to elevate the level of discussion regarding our many possible energy futures. The League has also established an e-newsletter, which currently goes out to more than 1,000 recipients throughout the state. To sign up to receive the e-newsletter, send an email to email@example.com with "subscribe" in the subject.
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State House 2012
Banner Year in the General Assembly
s this second year of the two-year, 119th S.C. General Assembly comes to a close, there is much to celebrate. In the rural lands arena, the Coastal Conservation League and its partners, working with a host of conservation legislators, rescued the Conservation Bank – extending its sunset date and ensuring full funding for the first time in three years. They also passed a prescribed fire law, affording greater protections to landowners who use fire as a wildlife and forest management tool. To promote South Carolina’s growing local agricultural sector, a new agricultural signage bill passed the Senate and House, as well as a local food sourcing resolution. And on the urban front, the Conservation League advanced two bills that facilitate the retrofit of failing commercial centers and provide tax credits for the redevelopment of abandoned buildings. Regarding water and public health, the Conservation League worked diligently to ensure that the state’s new water withdrawal legislation had sufficient funding to implement the necessary permitting program. And just a few weeks into the 2012 legislative session, a chronic sewage polluter bill and phosphate ban became law, protecting human health and the environment. Success is also about beating back the bad stuff, such as the Light Bulb Freedom Act, various Agenda 21 bills, and legislation that would undo the automatic stay in the case of permit appeals. The Conservation League legislative team remains ever vigilant, promoting legislation that protects South Carolina’s environment, economy and quality of life, while steadfastly opposing bills that would do otherwise.
Rural Lands Conservation Bank Reauthorization The S.C. Conservation Bank has been rescued, thanks to the many conservation minded lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. H.3083, introduced by Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Laurens), extends the life of the Conservation Bank an additional five years (until 2018) and fully funds the bank at about $7.5 million for the first time in three years. This will allow the bank to pay off outstanding grants and continue the protection of the natural and historic sites that are vital to South Carolina’s economy and quality of life.
Prescribed Fire Bill After four years of tireless work on the part of the Conservation League and more than 25 organizations, a bill providing criteria and protections for S.C. landowners who use prescribed fire for managing wildlife and forestlands has passed the General Assembly. Introduced by Rep. James Harrison (R-Richland), H.3631 overwhelmingly passed the House during the 2011 legislative session, subsequently passed out of the Senate this March, and was signed into law by Governor Haley on April 2nd.
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State House 2012 Urban Revival Commercial Center Revitalization Act The goal of the Commercial Center Revitalization Act (H. 3064) is to provide for the retrofit of the stateâ€™s failing commercial centers. The concurrent resolution encourages Councils of Government across the state to draft model ordinances and development standards that enable the retrofit process, and are incorporated into municipal zoning, subdivision regulations, and local comprehensive plans. H.3604, introduced by Rep. James Smith (D-Richland), was overwhelmingly adopted by the House in May and has passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Redevelopment Tax Credit The Conservation League is also working with legislators to pass a redevelopment tax credit that incentivizes the redevelopment of abandoned buildings, such as empty big box stores and deserted strip malls. A property owner who has a building that has been two-thirds abandoned for five years or more, and who plans to spend at least $500,000 to fix it up, would receive a state income tax credit.
Local Agriculture Agricultural Signage Act
Water and Public Health Water Withdrawal Permitting Sunset Bill S. 1220, introduced by Sen. Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley), has passed the Senate and is working its way through the House. S.1220 removes a provision of the Surface Water Permitting Bill that sunsets fees for the permitting program in 2013. The sunset provision was inserted to insure that the fees were reviewed by the General Assembly after a couple of years of running the program. However, the process of drafting and approving the new water regulations took longer than expected and will not be final until this summer. Without the passage of this bill, SCDHEC would have no funds to implement the Surface Water Withdrawal Bill that passed in 2010.
Chronic Polluter Bill & Phosphate Ban Just three weeks into the 2012 legislative session, a Chronic Sewage Polluter Bill and Phosphate Ban passed both houses of the General Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Haley. The Chronic Polluter Bill guarantees that chronic sewage overflow violators make the necessary upgrades to protect human health and the health of our surface and ground water. The Phosphate Ban prohibits the sale, use and manufacture of high phosphate detergents in South Carolina, in order to reduce algae blooms and fish kills caused by harmful levels of phosphorous in our waterways.
S.105, introduced by Senators Danny Verdin (R-Laurens) and Phil Leventis (D-Sumter), directs the Department of Transportation to create and supervise a statewide program that would provide directional signs to farms that promote agritourism. The bill passed the Senate on March 8th with a vote of 39 to 2, and a companion bill was introduced by Rep. Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville) and passed in the House. South Carolina's signage program will be fully funded by farmer fees, and is modeled on successful signage programs in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Delaware and Massachusetts. The bill has been signed into law by Governor Haley.
Local Food Sourcing Resolution This session, our legislature committed to creating, strengthening, and expanding the local food economy by supporting state polices that encourage state agencies, state-owned facilities, and state partners to purchase local South Carolina farm or food products. Rep. Laurie Funderbunk (D-Kershaw) and Senators Danny Verdin (R-Laurens) and Dick Elliott (D-Horry) introduced and successfully passed H.4881 and S.1048, concurrently agreeing to have 15% of all food and food products purchased by state agencies and state-owned facilities be local farm or food products by 2015.
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State House 2012
Bikes Back on the Connector
en. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) has introduced Senate Bill 1375, which would allow local municipal authorities to grant bicycle and pedestrian access through the SCDOT on controlled access highways if there is no other safe route available. The bill is aimed at allowing bicycles back on the James Island Connector in Charleston after it was closed following a fatal accident. The problem with the closing of the Connector is that the only other way on or off James Island is a more dangerous bridge. S.1375 allows local governments to open the Connector to bike traffic â€“ a plan that SCDOT, Mayor Riley and many others in the community have endorsed. States across the United States have enacted similar laws. S.1375 has passed the Senate and the House, and as we go to press, awaits the Governor's signature.
9th Annual Lobby Day Thanks to all who came to the State House in Columbia for Lobby Day on May 1st. We had a great crowd, great speakers, and more local and organic food than we could eat. We were successful in rescuing the Conservation Bank, helping our cities and farms, safeguarding South Carolina's water resources, and talking to legislators about all of our important issues. We celebrated this very productive and inspiring day at the S.C. General Assembly with an evening Oyster Roast and Local Food Reception at Seibels House and Gardens. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 10th Annual Conservation Lobby Day scheduled for May 7th, 2013.
(l-r) Ann Timberlake - Director of Conservation Voters of SC, Senator Hugh Leatherman, and Christie McGregor Director of Government Relations for TNC-SC.
photos by Jonathan Sharpe
(l-r) Blan Holman, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, discusses legislation with Senator Chip Campsen .
Oyster Roast and Local Foods Showcase at Seibels House and Gardens.
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The Maybank Pitchfork
What is a Pitchfork? Stono Bridge
his spring, Charleston County’s transportation program RoadWise, restarted the public meetings on the Maybank Highway proposed improvements. This road project was bonded through the halfcent sales tax program in 2006 and the Coastal Conservation League has been involved ever since. Maybank Highway is an important corridor, spanning James, John’s and Wadmalaw Islands. The entrance to John’s Island along Maybank Highway is especially important, and if done right, has the opportunity to maintain the sense of place that exists when you drive from the City of Charleston to the rural sea islands. In 2008, the Conservation League opposed a five-lane widening proposal for Maybank Highway. Widening Maybank Highway on John’s Island would dramatically alter the land uses along the corridor and across the center of the island. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the widening would
The Pitchfork is a network of streets leading up to the Maybank Highway and River Road intersection as you come down off the Stono River Bridge. Whereas conventional widening would create a five-lane highway across John's Island, the pitchfork adds four lanes, beginning at the foot of the bridge, that fan out to different points on River Road and end there – two lanes to the north and two lanes to the south, in addition to the existing two lanes in the center. These additional lanes give drivers choices before they reach a choke point – a choice to turn to the left, a choice to turn to the right, or a choice to travel through the intersection and farther down Maybank. Giving drivers choices relieves congestion and reduces the number of cars that wait at the stoplight at Maybank and River Roads. This plan is also designed for cyclists and pedestrians with appropriate bike lanes and sidewalks throughout.
not improve the flow of cars and people through the Maybank and River Road intersection. This intersection is often cited as a bottleneck and point of traffic buildup for island drivers. It is unfriendly to cars, bikes and pedestrians, and can be improved. Rather than just say “No” to the widening, the League proposed a solution. Thanks to help from our supporters, we worked with Charleston County and the City of Charleston to hire Hall Planning and Engineering, a renowned transportation and design firm, to design a solution that would respect John’s Island’s traditional land uses, and improve travel at and through the Maybank corridor. Our alternative is innovative and effective. The design solution is known as the “Pitchfork” because of its resemblance to a pitchfork shape when viewed from above; but in reality, it is a network of streets that can distribute traffic through the Maybank corridor,
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preserve the oaks and entrance to John’s Island, and coordinate with existing land use plans. Charleston County, the City of Charleston and the S.C. chapter of the Urban Land Institute endorsed this plan in 2009. Although the plan did not receive much public attention between 2009 and 2012, the public meetings are an opportunity to support the Pitchfork plan and talk about transportation changes that would positively impact John’s Island. Unlike I-526 and the Cross Island Expressway, the Pitchfork alternative supports the existing land uses on John’s Island and can offer traffic improvement for island residents. The next round of public meetings will take place this summer and after the EIS is completed. The successful defeat of the five-lane widening proposal, and the implementation of the Pitchfork plan, are critical for the future of John’s Island as a healthy and productive rural island.
Independent Economic Analysis Disputes SPA Claims
he economic assumptions being touted by the S.C. State Ports Authority (SPA) in favor of an unregulated cruise industry in Charleston have been determined faulty and incomplete by an independent study recently commissioned by the Historic Charleston Foundation. In short, the well-known economic consulting firm of Miley & Associates, based in Columbia, S.C., has addressed three critical questions regarding the impact of passenger cruises using the Port of Charleston:
Q Passenger cruises do not inject as much money into the economy as the SPA claims.
The Miley study reveals that the SPA’s taxpayerfunded, public relations campaign, “Jobs Not Snobs,” has misled the very community that the state agency is chartered to serve. The time has come for the City of Charleston to reevaluate its support for an unregulated cruise presence in Charleston and end its alignment with the Carnival Corporation in opposing enforceable limits. Instead, the city should work with its neighborhood associations and preservation and environmental groups on the following measures:
Q Determine how much money the cruise industry costs the City of Charleston in services and infrastructure, and impose a reasonable passenger fee to offset such costs, now and in the future.
Q Establish enforceable limits on the size, number and
Q Passenger cruises may actually compete with local businesses instead of enhancing them.
frequency of cruise ships visiting Charleston.
Q Conduct an open and thorough examination of the
Q The net effect of passenger cruises calling on or embarking from Charleston might actually be a financial loss to the city.
impact of a new and/or enhanced cruise terminal on Charleston’s neighborhoods and historic areas.
Q Set reasonable environmental measures on cruise industry operations, including requiring public access to discharge logs within 12 miles and installation of shoreside power. Historic port cities across the United States have enacted similar measures; Charleston deserves no less.
Cruise Control Advocates– (l-r) Dana Beach, George McDaniel, Charles Duell and Evan Thompson.
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... “Carnival has refused to place reasonable limits on the size and frequency of its ships. In fact, Carnival has refused to be regulated at all or shoulder any part of the burden it creates. And it has done so with the approval of the State and City. ”
National Trust Defends Residents’ Right to Sue Excerpts from an Amicus Brief filed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in support of the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, the Preservation Society of Charleston and the S.C. Coastal Conservation League in their lawsuit against Carnival Corporation:
Q The Respondents/Plaintiffs have standing to sue because Carnival’s activities adversely affect their property interests in historic overlay zones.
-The National Trust
Q The nature and extent of Carnival’s activities, as alleged in the complaint, support the elements needed to establish a nuisance claim because forcing historic property owners to bear the cost of these activities is unreasonable.
S.C. Medical Association Calls for Shoreside Power SCMA Signs on to Charleston County Medical Society Resolution, as excerpted below:
Q Notwithstanding the repeated requests by nearby property
Q Whereas the average cruise ship discharges four times the amount of airborne pollutants, especially sooty particulates, compared to the average cargo ship, thus affecting Charleston citizens and visitors alike when the ships continuously run their engines dockside for hours while disembarking and embarking passengers;
Q Whereas the effects of said airborne pollutants have been shown to cause increased chronic respiratory and heart diseases and increased cancer risk, especially among those dockworkers, local merchants and residents closest to the docks, thereby increasing their healthcare costs;
Q Whereas the use of onshore power now shows a significant reduction in the amount of airborne cruise ship pollutants up to 90% and is now used frequently by major cruise ports in U.S. neighboring communities without appreciable economic loss to the cruise ship industry;
Q Whereas reduction in portside air pollutants and the use of onshore power is now supported by the AMA, the EPA, the American Lung Association, other organizations, and even the Cruise Lines Industry Association itself,
Q THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Charleston County Medical Society ask the South Carolina Medical Association, the City of Charleston, the State Ports Authority, Carnival Cruise Lines, and the South Carolina General Assembly to work together to enact enforceable requirements for cruise ship use of onshore power rather than engine power while dockside.
owners, Carnival has refused to place reasonable limits on the size and frequency of its ships. In fact, Carnival has refused to be regulated at all or shoulder any part of the burden it creates. And it has done so with the approval of the State and City. In economic terms, this is a classic free rider, or freeloader, problem. This lawsuit seeks to reallocate some of these costs in a more equitable manner. Cruise Terminal Pilings Under Scrutiny
he State Ports Authority is requesting permission to install pilings in the “critical area” salt marsh to allow for relocation and expansion of cruise ship operations at Union Pier. In order to get a “critical area” permit, DHEC/OCRM is required by law to evaluate and consider the long-range, cumulative effects of the project that may result if a project is permitted. The S.C. Supreme Court recently interpreted this regulation, Regulation 30-11(C)(1), and said that DHEC/ OCRM must take into account impacts like upland sprawl and general overdevelopment, and cannot make its decision on a “critical area” permit in a vacuum. In this case, the project – placement of pilings in the salt marsh – will facilitate an expansion of cruise ship operations. In evaluating the project, the long-range, cumulative effects necessarily encompass any impacts associated with expanded cruise operations. DHEC/OCRM must then consider these impacts – including air pollution, water pollution, disruption to the historic and aesthetic qualities of Charleston, harm to wildlife – and any other impacts that are associated with expanded cruise ship operations.
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Favorite Summer Field Trips Sandy Island Sandy Island is located between the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers. It has been preserved as a wildlife refuge and nature center and has been home to the Sandy Island community for generations. The island borders a region undergoing some of the country’s most frenetic development, where the pressure to build resorts and golf courses has threatened coastal communities for decades. The northern portion of the island is mostly a longleaf pine forest. Approximately 9,000 acres of the island were purchased by The Nature Conservancy for permanent protection from development. On the southern, lower end of the island are the remnants of old rice plantations. Sandy Island’s fragile ecosystem features longleaf pines, cypress trees and maritime forests, draped in Spanish moss and inhabited by a variety of wildlife.
In the early 1990s, two of South Carolina’s biggest developers owned most of Sandy Island and wanted to build a bridge to the mainland. The developers insisted the bridge would be used only to carry timber off of the island and that there would be no further development. The Coastal Conservation League appealed the bridge permit and the case dragged on for nearly three years until South Carolina approved a new highway farther north that would run through acres of pristine coastal wetlands. Federal law requires states to compensate for wetlands destroyed by new highway construction by creating or acquiring new wetlands, such as those found in abundance on Sandy Island. So, the Conservation League worked with the SCDOT on a plan to use $10 million in mitigation funds to buy most of Sandy Island’s uninhabited lands. The Nature Conservancy donated an additional $1 million towards the purchase. Now a way of life and an entire ecosystem are protected from commercial development.
Bull's Island & Boneyard Beach Bull’s Island, at 5,496 acres, is the largest of four barrier islands found within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. The island consists of maritime forest, fresh and brackish water impoundments, salt marsh and sandy beaches. Live oaks, sabal palmettos, cedar, loblolly pines and magnolias are the dominant trees found on the island. Bull’s Island is home for deer, alligators, raccoons, and black fox squirrels; but, the bird life is what Bulls Island is known for throughout the world. More than 277 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge, with most being found on or near Bull’s. The Boneyard Beach on the island gets its name from all of the downed trees that have been toppled by the surf and bleached by the sun and salt water. Visitors can enjoy surf fishing, watching and photographing wildlife, picnicking, hiking and biking. The Coastal Expeditions ferry takes visitors to the island on regularly scheduled days, departing from Garris Landing near Awendaw.
The Story: The Coastal Conservation League has worked consistently for more than 20 years to protect the water quality and lands that surround the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, of which Bull’s Island is a part. It was back in 1990 that the Conservation League first nominated Cape Romain and its associated waters for Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW) classification. Eight years later, in 1998, the waters were officially upgraded to ORW, enjoying the highest protection possible in South Carolina. In addition, the Conservation League has successfully worked with the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan and its associated zoning ordinances to ensure that residential developments bordering the refuge remain at low densities, in order to prevent degradation of Cape Romain’s unparalleled wildlife habitat. C OA S TA L C O N S E RVAT I O N L E AG U E
Wambaw Creek The easy, five-mile float on tidally influenced Wambaw Creek Canoe Trail will take you into one of the state’s five federally designated wilderness areas – the 1,900-acre Wambaw Creek Wilderness, created in 1980. A tributary of the Santee River, the creek meanders languidly through the vast swamps of the Francis Marion National Forest. In the 1700s, settlers used enslaved labor to harvest the virgin timber and convert parts of the swamp into ricefields; and you can still see remains of long-abandoned canals and ricefield dikes along the trail. In the upland pine forests that surround the wilderness, there’s a chance you may see rare swallow-tailed kites and red-cockaded woodpeckers. Wambaw Creek is a great site to come across unique wildlife while canoeing or kayaking.
Following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the Coastal Conservation League worked closely with the U.S. Forest Service to develop a new management plan for the Francis Marion National Forest that would promote the native longleaf pine ecosystem, which once dominated the coastal plain. Through an enhanced regime of controlled burns, longer growing cycles and selective timbering, longleaf pine habitat has increased in the national forest, along with the native species of plants and animals that thrive there.
Pinckney Island Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, established on December 4, 1975, was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The 4,053-acre refuge includes Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks. Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks. Pinckney Island also contains forestland, brush land, fallow field and freshwater ponds. The refuge is located in Beaufort County, and is ½ mile west of Hilton Head Island off of U.S. Highway 278. The island is bounded by Skull Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) on the east and Mackay Creek on the west, with Calibogue Sound to the south and Port Royal Sound to the north. This wildlife refuge is a great spot for hiking, biking, and bird watching.
For more than 200 years, the family of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, signer of the U.S. Constitution, owned the islands and developed a cotton plantation there. In 1937, the family sold the cluster of islands to Ellen Keyser Bruce, who managed the property as a game preserve. Edward Starr and James Barker purchased it in 1954, managing Pinckney for game and wildlife until 1975, when they donated it to the federal government to be used exclusively as a wildlife refuge and forest preserve. Over the years, the Coastal Conservation League has worked to preserve water quality in the area, including preventing the dredging and open water disposal of contaminated sediments in Calibogue Sound; and protecting the tributaries and waterways – like the Pocotaligo and Coosahatchie Rivers – that flow into Port Royal Sound. C OA S TA L C O N S E RVAT I O N L E AG U E
STAND UP! Engaged Citizens Make All by Nancy Cave, North Coast Director
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever does.” I am sure many of you have heard or read this Margaret Mead quote; if I had come across Mead’s quote when I started with the Coastal Conservation League I would not have believed it. Ten years later, I not only believe that committed citizens can initiate change, I know they can. Year in and year out, I have worked with people who are willing to stand up for what they believe to be best for their families and their communities. Whether it is stopping a coal plant or a landfill, or changing the structure of their local government, ordinary citizens can and do change their communities for the better.
n 2006, I received word from residents that Santee Cooper wanted to build a coal fired electric generation plant on the banks of the Great Pee Dee River in southern Florence County. I went to a hearing, and there a small group of citizens whose backyards were adjacent to the proposed coal plant spoke. One woman, Terry Cook, spoke with passion and concern about the effects the plant would have on her home, her community and the river. Terry, her family, and her neighbors were the beginning of the grass
roots fight to stop the coal plant. Three years later, we celebrated victory. But it took Terry and the hundreds of other citizens to stand up and say “No” to Santee Cooper. Without them we would never have had anything to celebrate. My role in these grass root efforts is one of support, guidance, and permission to organize and to speak up against the wrongs being perpetrated in our communities. The wrongs can be governmental, corporate, or political; it doesn’t matter. When citizens are
Champions of the Pee Dee – Front row (l-r):
threatened, being taken advantage of or ignored, they will tolerate it only for so long; until one person says, “Enough! This is not right. This hurts my family, my community” . . . and change begins. In Williamsburg County, residents in Nesmith heard by chance that a company was planning on building a mega dump in their midst. A meeting at a local church attracted more than 300 citizens challenging MRR Southern and their plans to build a landfill that would receive 1.2 million tons of trash annually.
Peggy Brown, Susan Corbett, Mary Edna Fraser, Barbara Zia, Pam Creech, Bo Ives, Mike King (kneeling), Sally King, Terry Cook, Nancy Cave; Back row (l-r): Joey Cook, Frank Brown, Randy Stone, John Sperry, Hamilton Davis, Blan Holman and Gretta Kruesi. C OA S TA L C O N S E RVAT I O N L E AG U E
the Difference I started working with a handful of citizens to organize the community. Overnight, hundreds of signs saying “No Megadump in Williamsburg County” went up; people called their county council members, wrote letters, signed petitions and set up a not-for-profit corporation to raise money to litigate the landfill, if necessary. The citizens won, the county leadership was forced to negotiate a settlement with MRR, and the Nesmith landfill was dead. Today, Citizens for Williamsburg County, which grew out of the landfill fight, is engaged in a petition drive to change Williamsburg County’s form of government, so deals with companies like MRR cannot happen without citizen knowledge and involvement. The citizens of Williamsburg forced their county council to be responsive to them, to remember their constituents – the people that put them in office. Williamsburg citizens are changing their world.
I-73 UPDATE Economic Analysis The Coastal Conservation League commissioned economic consultants Miley & Associates to conduct an independent analysis of the proposed $1.3 billion Interstate-73 versus the upgrading of already existing Highway 38/501, known as the Grand Strand Expressway (GSX). Here are the Miley Study’s findings: s
5PGRADING THE EXISTING 'RAND 3TRAND %XPRESSWAY '38 offers substantial benefits at 1/10 the cost of I-73, and would result in improved access to the Myrtle Beach tourism market. 5PGRADING THE '38 WOULD CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND save businesses along existing routes. 5PGRADING THE '38 COULD BE UNDERTAKEN AS FUNDS ARE available, providing ongoing transportation utility and other economic benefits sooner than the proposed I-73.
Wetlands Study People make the difference, no matter their education, color, or financial means. It takes commitment, time, and patience; the change can take years. Involved citizens become empowered, realizing – sometimes for the first time – that they have a voice, that they can make a difference in bringing about real and lasting change. To do nothing is to give into the status quo. Civil enlightenment, involvement and empowerment are when change happens. At the Conservation League, we lay the groundwork for change, taking advantage of the moments when people and communities are receptive to making a difference. The shift can be small, but even the smallest shift can lead to a landslide of change within the world we live.
The Conservation League also partnered with the Southern Environmental Law Center to commission an environmental study by Senior Wetlands Analyst Donley Kisner of Environmental Research, Inc., comparing wetland impacts of a new I-73 versus upgrading the existing Highway 38/501 corridor. Kisner’s research concluded the following: s
!CCORDING TO THE PERMIT APPLICATION SUBMITTED BY THE SCDOT for a permit to place fill associated with the construction of a new four-lane interstate roadway, 313 acres of wetlands would be impacted by this segment of the proposed new location of I-73. By contrast, upgrading the existing corridor would impact approximately 119 acres of wetlands.
#ONSISTENT WITH THE WETLAND IMPACTS IT IS REASONABLE TO conclude that there would be significantly less disturbance to streams by adding a minimal amount of additional linear footage to already impacted streams in the upgrading of the existing Hwy. 38/501 corridor, compared to the disturbances that would occur to 22 new stream crossings if I-73 were to be constructed.
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