County Council looks to experts during mine proposal
October 9th, 2018
By Michaele Duke
ouncil recently voted on a motion to engage an attorney who will provide advise on any issues that may arise regarding the proposed quarry in the Earle Community. Council voted unanimous on the motion to enter into a legal contract with Stan Barnett.
The agreement includes no charge for Barnett’s services, with the exception of costs such as depositions and travel fees. The County can opt out of the agreement at any time.
In 2017, RDA, LLC applied for state and federal permits in order to construct and operate a limestone mining and process facility on a 968 acre tract located approximately five miles northwest of Andrews. Coastal Conservation League’s North Coast Office Director, Erin Pate has said the proposed the proposed mine will threaten wells, cause sinkholes, drain wetlands and create devastating impacts to plant and marine life.
Others such as Craig Kennedy, a geologist and former Chief of the South Carolina Department of health and Environmental Control, Bureau of Land and Waste Management, Mine Permitting Division does not believe onsite or offsite impacts are a risk. In a July 18, letter to the Editor published in The News, Kennedy stated that concerns about environmental impacts have been studied and preventive measures will be built into the design and operations planned for the Williamsburg County.
Last month, the South Carolina Environmental Law Project filed on behalf of the Conservation League, the South Carolina Wildlife Federation among others, a notice of intent to sue the Corps of Engineers and other agencies. The notice claims Federal agencies named in the filing are committing ongoing violations of endangered species act in relation to a proposed limestone mine.
The County does not have an Ordinance that addresses specifically mines, nor does council have authority to prevent the proposed mine from being built. However, when going forward, council may seek legal advice.