Some state lawmakers are trying to make it harder for environmental groups to block construction projects by taking away a legal tool they often use.
It’s a part of the state legal process known as an “automatic stay.” Once filed, it requires a developer, government agency, or construction company to stop work immediately until a suit can be heard in South Carolina’s Administrative Law Court.
State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said he appreciates when some groups have legitimate environmental and conservation concerns, but said he believes most of those concerns can be addressed when a project goes through its necessary government permits.
“What you do is stop frivolous objections that aren’t based in good fact,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “You kind of put everybody back on an even playing field, instead of having this trump card they can throw at any point during this process.”
Hembree said he plans to pre-file legislation next month that would end the practice.
Construction vs. conservation has always been an issue across South Carolina, but it has become even more confrontational in the Myrtle Beach area. Despite the housing market downturn, the fast-growing Grand Strand region continues to quickly spread out across miles of undeveloped swamp, beach and wetlands.