‘Cruise ship case’ goes before SC Supreme Court

VIDEO: ‘Cruise ship case’ goes before SC Supreme Court

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Environmental groups and community advocates have challenged the SC Ports Authority and Department of Health and Environmental Control over state-issued pollution permits related to the expansion of the cruise ship terminal in downtown Charleston.

The state supreme court will hear the case on Tuesday.

The argument has moved past environmental concerns. The focus of the hearing will be to ask the SC Supreme Court to review and reverse a prior decision by a lower court.

In 2012, the port authority asked for the federal permits to build a new cruise ship terminal closer to the edge of the peninsula, which were then approved. Residents in the area tried to challenge the permit approval but the case was dismissed in 2013. An appeals court upheld that ruling in 2014.

The plaintiffs claim the Court of Appeals shut the door on Charlestonians who aimed to appeal state-issued pollution permits for a proposed terminal.

The state ports authority wants to build a newer and bigger terminal to host larger ships and more of them in downtown Charleston.

The debate isn’t against cruise ships though. Instead, it’s a fight to make sure the future of the industry in the Charleston Harbor is environmentally responsible.

A bus carrying a group of supporters left early Tuesday morning for Columbia. Oral arguments are expected to last 1-2 hours.

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