South Carolina’s highest court has dismissed a lawsuit that attempts to halt expanded cruise ship operations in Charleston.
The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that assorted preservation groups and neighborhood associations who sued Carnival Cruises over operations at a cruise terminal did not have legal standing to challenge the proposal. The terminal, operated by the State Ports Authority, is located in a historic part of the city.
“Plaintiffs fail to allege a particularized injury either to themselves or their members,” Justice Kay Hearn wrote in the unanimous 5-0 ruling. “Rather, they assert only generalized grievances suffered by the public as a whole which are insufficient to establish standing.”
Groups including the Preservation Society of Charleston and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League sued Carnival two years ago, saying the ships create nuisances for downtown residents including air pollution and traffic congestion. The State Ports Authority and the city of Charleston are siding with the cruise line.
Debate over the role of cruise ships in the city simmered after Carnival permanently based its 2,000-passenger liner Fantasy in Charleston three years ago.
The ruling does not end litigation over the terminal, however. Another lawsuit continues to make its way through federal court over the proposed $35 million cruise terminal at Union Pier in Charleston. Last month, a judge ruled that federal regulators did not adequately examine the terminal before granting a critical permit. The judge ordered additional review from the Army Corps of Engineers.