A letter from Dana Beach

On Nov 7, 2014, at 8:15 AM, Dana Beach <DanaBeach@scccl.org> wrote:

Folks,

The State Ports Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are moving at lightening speed through the permitting process to deepen Charleston Harbor. A new, expedited procedure raises questions about the quality of review this extremely complex proposal is receiving. Toxic sediments resuspended in the water, salt water intruding into fresh water habitats and life-deprivingly low levels of oxygen are just a few of the issues that have been raised. This article from the State, by Samantha Ehlinger, outlines some of these concerns, raised by the Conservation League, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and by natural resource agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries.

The rapidity with which the SPA is proceeding on the deepening project is matched only by the glacially slow movement by the agency to comply with state law directing the sale of property they own in Port Royal. The Legislature passed this law some years ago, but the agency has consistently failed to make any progress on the sale. The port’s recalcitrance has drawn criticism from the town of Port Royal, residents and developers (who have filed the lawsuit). Sadly, enforcing this simple directive will be expensive for both the plaintiffs, the state (taxpayers), and the town, which will be deprived of revenues from this valuable and strategic piece of property for years to come.

But in case you are discouraged about the prospect for good to come from government, the third and final article provides a magical description of the bicycling craze in Bhutan. The standard bearer is Jigme Singye Wanchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan, who also presided over the transformation of this small Himalayan country to a constitutional democracy just a decade ago. The article is long, and one of the more enjoyable pieces I’ve read, about a subject that we should take far more seriously in this country, and about the potential great leaders have to change our perspectives of the world.

Dana

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