International Drive Clears One Hurdle

The International Drive project jumped one hurdle yesterday when a SCDHEC committee rejected another review requested by two environmental groups.

The committee voted 3-0 to reject a request for review of the project by the Coastal Conservation League and SC Wildlife Federation who put in a last minute appeal July 10, 2015 to stop SCDHEC and the US Army of Corps of Engineers from issuing permits that would have allowed construction to go forward.

It is expected an appeal will be filed with the Administrative Law Court within the 30 day required period.

The two environmental groups objected to the elimination of three bear tunnels that had been included in the project at one point and to a four lane instead of a two lane roadway.

At the time, we called this ecoterrorism in the form of delaying the project for as long as possible, a move that has been going on since 2007 in one form or another.

According to sources familiar with the committee deliberations, one SCDHEC board member asked if Horry County and the environmental groups would agree to a compromise of one bear tunnel instead of the three the environmentalists were requesting in an effort to avoid more legal proceedings. Evidently nothing was mentioned regarding two v. four lanes.

An attorney for the environmentalists reportedly called the compromise plan interesting and worth exploring.

Budgets - Cuts, Spending and You

Ecoterrorism and Public Dollars

Last week I did an article on ecoterrorism causing further delays in the International Drive project.

The form of ecoterrorism I was talking about consists of environmental groups essentially taking the stand ‘submit to our demands or we will delay your project ad infinitum.’

The International Drive project is not unique in the use of this technique.

The environmental groups will tell you they don’t threaten or bully anybody, but the effect appears to produce the same result. And this ecoterrorism is apparently not limited to the specific requirements of a project. It can apparently go well beyond those parameters if the environmental groups desire.

An example is the wetlands mitigation done for the Boeing plant in North Charleston.

General obligation economic development bonds were issued by the state of South Carolina to pay for infrastructure associated with the construction of facilities to ultimately be used by the Boeing assembly line. Included was a $5 million bond for wetland mitigation.

After paying the issuance cost of $250,000, the remaining $4,750,000 of bond proceeds were paid into the account of ACRET (Ashley Cooper River Environmental Trust), a non-profit entity established by the SC Department of Commerce.