South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina


Court of Appeals Upholds Agreement to Protect Wetlands in Pawleys Island

Court of Appeals Upholds Agreement to Protect Wetlands in Pawleys Island

On March 15, the S.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the plain language of a settlement agreement and consent order that says wetlands “shall” be preserved means that those wetlands must, in fact, be preserved. The Court of Appeals reversed the ruling from the Administrative Law Court (“ALC”), which affirmed the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (“DHEC”) decision not to enforce the settlement agreement and order.

Relying on well and long-established rules and principles of contract law, the Court of Appeals remanded the case to the ALC to consider the propriety of the 2014 permit in light of the terms of the 2001 agreement and order.

This is an important victory for the rule of law and our wetlands, but it is also a reminder that a decision by the ALC is hardly ever the last word on DHEC environmental permits. Some ALC decisions are upheld by higher courts when challenged, others are overturned. In its 30-year history of forceful public interest advocacy SCELP has amassed a large collection of the latter, which bolster the case for the most stringent due process and legal precautions against the destruction of critical natural resources before a decision is final. Whereas a wrong judicial order can always be reversed and the relevant legal issue sent back to a lower court for reconsideration, most often filled wetlands cannot be unfilled, paved roads cannot be unpaved or extinct species cannot be resurrected.

Download available Press Release_Pawleys Island Church

Posted: Mar 23, 2017 | Page link

What Is Happening with the Pinewood Site?
Posted: Mar 1, 2017
Automatic Stay Attacks Threaten Your Due Process Rights
Posted: Mar 1, 2017
The Winter Newsletter Is Here!
Posted: Jan 20, 2017
Seismic Victory! It's Time to Celebrate
Posted: Jan 20, 2017
Upstate Office Opens!
Posted: Oct 6, 2016
ALC Judge Puts Captain Sams Spit Back in Jeopardy
Posted: Mar 31, 2016
Tensions Remain High in our Bays & Bears Case
Posted: Feb 18, 2016
The Heat is On against False Crawls and Plastic Walls
Posted: Feb 10, 2016
Lowcountry Giving Day a Win for the Wild Side!
Posted: Apr 28, 2015
Serious Consideration of Impacts Needed in Applications for Seismic Testing in SC
Posted: Mar 4, 2015
SCELP Director to Take Home the Silver
Posted: Feb 19, 2015
Black Bear Habitat Threatened
Posted: Jan 27, 2015
Pappa's Island is Preserved!
Posted: Dec 17, 2014
Oakridge Landfill Threatens Four Holes Swamp
Posted: Dec 17, 2014
Landmark Ruling Protects Captains Sams Spit
Posted: Dec 17, 2014
Double Your Donation with Donnelley!
Posted: Sep 3, 2014
SCELP Staunches Flow of Radioactive Waste into Groundwater
Posted: Jul 31, 2014
Opponents win round over developing Kiawah Island's Capt. Sams Spit but impact debated
Posted: Jun 18, 2014
SCELP continues to work to defend the integrity of SC's Beachfront Management Act
Posted: May 23, 2014
SCELP Board Members Frances Close & Paula Feldman spoke, among others, at a press conference in opposition to the bill destroying SC's beachfront management protections
Posted: May 23, 2014
SCELP's Amy Armstrong sworn in as municipal judge
Posted: May 23, 2014
Second Annual Midlands Celebration
Posted: May 5, 2014
SCELP filed an appeal of judge's ruling over Charleston cruise terminal on behalf of community groups
Posted: Apr 23, 2014
Mingo Point, Kiawah Island kayak and boat excursion
Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Victory in Laurens County
Posted: Apr 7, 2014
SCELP is working to defend the integrity of SC's Beachfront Management Act
Posted: Apr 2, 2014
SCELP Secures Settlement to Protect Angel Oak
Posted: Jan 31, 2014
SCELP Lawyers Complete Trial in Kiawah Land Dispute
Posted: Jan 31, 2014
Supreme Court Agrees to Hearing EAGLE Landfill Case
Posted: Jul 1, 2013
Pawleys Island Groin Fight Heats Up
Posted: Jul 1, 2013
Supreme Court Rehears Captain Sams Case a Third Time
Posted: Mar 28, 2013
Dr. Angela Halfacre to Speak About Her Book, "A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture of the S.C. Lowcountry"
Posted: Jul 5, 2012
The State Newspaper covers the last day of our Angel Oak trial
Posted: Apr 6, 2012
Famed Angel Oak threatened, judge told
Posted: Apr 4, 2012
Marlboro in fierce fight against landfill
Posted: Apr 1, 2012
Walter Edgar's Journal - SCETV - Interview with Amy Armstrong
Posted: Jan 25, 2012