Charleston joins lawsuit against federal government over offshore leasing

Charleston joins lawsuit against federal government over offshore leasing
January 09 21:37 2018 Print This Article

Charleston City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to join a lawsuit filed by the Georgetown-based non-profit South Carolina Environmental Law Project against the federal government for plans to allow seismic testing and leasing for oil and natural gas production along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which is 60 miles or more off of the South Carolina coastline.  The resolution was added to the agenda and passed without discussion or limits set on legal fees.  Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has released plans for energy exploration along 90% of America’s OCS in the Trump Administration plan for American energy dominance.

In other business, City Council approved a second reading to extend the building moratorium along the 100-year flood plain in the Church Creek drainage basin until the end of May and a second reading to annex the 17-acre Bradham tract between the Bees Ferry Landfill and Savannah Highway.  The meeting began by recognizing outgoing Council members Rodney Williams, Dean Riegel and Kathleen Wilson and swearing in new members Kevin Shealy, Harry Griffin and Carol Jackson.  Councilman James Lewis, the longest-serving Councilman with 20 years of service, was unanimously elected Mayor Pro-tempore, who represents the city in the absence of Mayor John Tecklenburg.

Public comment period involved comments from downtown resident Arthur Lawrence opposing bicycle lanes, which will remove parking spaces for cars, Johns Island resident Tim Squire, opposing high-density development and filling in the wetlands with impervious clay soils, vendors at The Market who want heating units allowed, and history scholars from a Southern heritage foundation which questioned the language proposed by the Charlston History Commission for a plaque at the John C. Calhoun statue at Marion Square.  City Council deferred action on the plaque language.

There is a workshop scheduled Wednesday at 5:30 pm at The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Road, at which the West Ashley Revitalization Commission will present the draft West Ashley Master Plan to the Charleston Planning Commission.  The plan includes New Urbanism planning concepts, featuring high-density apartment complexes and large expenditures on bicycle and pedestrian paths and mass transportation.  There is a public comment period included in the agenda.