South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Supreme Court Wetlands Ruling
June 1st, 2012

Legislators are poised to derail a 2011 S.C. Supreme Court decision that gave extra protection to wetlands and made it easier for the public to sue alleged polluters under state law.

A compromise bill, approved Wednesday by the Senate, preserves a handful of existing lawsuits by citizens’ groups, including one against dredging the port of Savannah and another over discharges of toxic arsenic into the Wateree River near Columbia.

But the legislation won’t allow future citizens’ lawsuits for violation of the state’s pollution control law, nor will it require the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to establish a permitting program for potentially hundreds of thousands of acres of isolated wetlands not now protected by federal law.

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