A new port terminal project in Charleston will move forward, this time with the blessings of a powerful environmental lobby on the South Carolina coast.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League announced today that they have successfully concluded several months of mediation and reached a settlement to allow the Port of Charleston’s new container terminal and port access road to proceed. The 280-acre container terminal is planned for the former Navy base.
Jim Newsome, president & CEO, of the SC State Ports Authority and Dana Beach, executive director of the SC Coastal Conservation League made the announcement Friday in Charleston. According to a joint statement, the agreement includes a number of commitments from both parties, setting a course for port expansion to continues in “the most environmentally responsible manner.”
Beach explains that this mediated agreement is federally-enforceable and “robust.” He credits the new leadership at the port for making this happen, along with a lot of persistence on the part of his organization:
According to CCL-commissioned national study of the port’s potential pollution, “health costs associated with an expanded Charleston port could be as high as $81 million per year if the port does not set meaningful, measurable goals to reduce ship and truck emissions. ”
The CCL and the SCSPA now agree that this settlement is a “fair and reasonable resolution of the claims asserted by the CCL, and that the agreement is no admission of fault, wrongdoing, or liability” and is in the best interests of the state’s citizens, economy and environment.
A brief summary of the agreement released today says,
Included in the agreement are specific actions to monitor and reduce air emissions from existing operations, as well as a commitment to accommodate and participate in a regional rail solution in the Charleston area. The Port is also committing to reduce emissions by launching a voluntary truck replacement program to replace 85 percent of pre-1994 trucks calling on the Port terminals by January 1, 2014.