South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Fishing Creek Heelsplitter Population At Risk

Mining permit applications are not altogether unusual in South Carolina, and the discussion of such proposals typically centers around the same basic question of whether the mine will be designed and operated in a manner to minimize disruption to the affected community. What is unusual in the Chester County proposed granite mine is its location in a floodplain property bounded by wetlands and Fishing Creek, which happens to be home to one of the few populations of endangered Carolina Heelsplitter existing in the world.

The proposed mine simply doesn't match with the ecologically critical property--indeed one would be hard-pressed to find a more unsuitable site in this granite-rich part of the state. Luckily SCELP's Upstate office, along with environmental partners and an enthusiastic community group, Friends and Farmers for Fishing Creek, have catalyzed a strong voice of opposition.

The rumblings of opposition that began with an energetic group of rural landowners has grown into a thundering chorus, with major problems and concerns being introduced by federal and state agencies, public and private enterprises, and a growing number of environmental groups. The proposed Fishing Creek Quarry, which is slated for a Rock Hill councilman’s wooded property adjacent to I-77 near the border of York and Chester Counties, faces an extraordinary, growing number of obstacles, now including the possibility of “catastrophic rupture” of the area’s main natural gas line. Locals and environmentalists are hopeful that the combination of health, safety, archeological, historical, endangered species, zoning, and community concerns facing this mine will be enough to turn back the proposal.

SCELP has written in opposition to this project on behalf of American Rivers, the Catawba Riverkeeper, and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, as well as Friends and Farmers for Fishing Creek, which now have more than 100 active participants in their group, vow to fight the proposal of Fishing Creek Quarry until all of these issues have been adequately addressed.

Read our full comment letter and press release below and you can check out some great coverage on this issue here and here.

Download available Fishing Creek Comment Letter

Download available Granite Mine Press Release