South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Fishing Creek Quarry Plans Thwarted!
Posted: December 13, 2018

Permit requests for Fishing Creek Quarry, which we vigorously opposed from the beginning, have been withdrawn! This critically important outcome was fostered by the concerted action of SCELP and its partners in the administrative permitting process. We had rarely seen the depth or breadth of problems that were implicated here on a per acre basis.

  • The mine was proposed within the floodplain of Fishing Creek, requiring an earthen berm to keep floodwaters out of the pit. Significant draw-down of groundwater would have degraded many acres of wetlands, and significant stormwater discharge from the mine into the Creek would have ensued.

  • The affected portion of Fishing Creek is occupied habitat for the Carolina Heelsplitter, an endangered freshwater mussel with only dozens of individual animals known to exist, as well as eight species on the South Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, which are state-designated species with the highest conservation need.

  • The proposed mine was in close proximity to a major natural gas pipeline

  • Native American sites and artifacts are present on the property, as well as historically significant farm structures.

  • The inadequacy of local roads, and the inherent incompatibility with the surrounding agricultural community.

The dire potential impacts on wildlife and water quality led American Rivers, the Catawba Riverkeeper, and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation to partner with SCELP. We also had the privilege of working most closely with a group of engaged local citizens known as the Friends and Farmers of Fishing Creek, who were particularly keen in preserving the natural and historic heritage of their community.

While the list of problems was long, a favorable outcome was by no means guaranteed. We spent the last eight months communicating with federal, state, and local agencies in order to influence the permitting process for this project, providing legal authority and ensuring full and accurate factual consideration by these entities. We were successful in persuading a few agencies to revoke or revisit their earlier positions on the project.

Coupled with the media and public outreach efforts undertaken with our partners, all of this work eventually led to the demise of this project. We are celebrating this success, which your support of our expanded Upstate capacity made possible.