New Charleston Terminal Clears Environmental Opposition

New Charleston Terminal Clears Environmental Opposition

The South Carolina State Ports Authority and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League said Friday they concluded several months of mediation and reached a settlement, ending a years-long battle and allowing the proposed new port access road and container terminal on the former Navy Base in North Charleston to proceed.

The agreement includes a number of commitments from both parties, setting a course for port expansion that continues in the most environmentally responsible manner.

The new terminal, which is designed to have an annual capacity of 1.4 million 20-foot equivalent container units, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. It will bring the port’s total annual capacity to 4.4 million TEUs.

By The Numbers: Containerized Ocean Trade - Georgia & South Carolina Ports.

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 project 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 Jan. 1, 2014.

The agreement resolves the CCL’s substantive challenges against the state and federal agencies’ permits for the new terminal and port access road. The new terminal project is the SCSPA’s top strategic priority, allowing it to handle long-term growth and attract new jobs and investment.

The resolution of the environmental group’s opposition to the new terminal comes just two weeks after the North Carolina State Ports Authority announced on July 22 that it is shelving its planned new 1.5 million TEU container port near Southport because of opposition from the communities in the region and from state legislators.

The CCL and the SCSPA said they 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.

The SCSPA said it is undertaking the actions in the agreement voluntarily to address any and all claims.

The parties said in a joint statement that they believe that this agreement and the forward-looking measures it contains are in the best interest of the citizens, the economy, and the environment of South Carolina.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at pleach@joc.com.