By Paul Gable
A state appeals court yesterday lifted an order issued last month stopping construction work on International Drive.
This reversal means the county can continue work stopped last month after the appeals court issued an initial injunction halting construction. According to the Friday order, work on the road may continue with the exception of connecting it to adjacent properties until a final decision in the appeals court is reached.
This latest ruling continues a pattern that has evolved in the International Drive saga in both federal and state courts as well as other administrative rulings. The county wins a decision to go forward, the environmentalists find a new roadblock to stop progress until the next court ruling sides with the county’s arguments.
The environmental groups’ attorney Amy Armstrong was quoted in media outlets saying a reconsideration of this latest order would be sought.
The environmentalist strategy of delay, delay, delay has been successful in stopping or seriously altering projects many times through the years.
Just to see how it works, below is a capsule synopsis of the delaying tactics used against the International Drive project:
Seventeen years ago, the Horry County Solid Waste Authority board discussed using authority funds to pave International Drive as a means of reducing garbage truck traffic on SC 90.
The environmentalists were never heard from during these discussions.
When the project began being talked about seriously at the county level (in the early to mid-2000’s), SCDNR chief counsel Buford Mabry showed up at a county council meeting to talk about the project affecting a pair of red cockaded woodpeckers that were allegedly nesting near the proposed road bed.
It sounded a ridiculous argument then and still does on reflection. I’ve always believed Mr. Mabry’s address to council was prompted by considerations other than red cockaded woodpeckers, but it slowed discussions about the project down.
Only after International Drive was added to the Ride II project list and serious planning for the project began did the Coastal Conservation League and SC Wildlife Federation introduce bears into the discussions.
The bear excuse has slowed work down until the present day, but it may have run its course yesterday.
On the day Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States, a SC appeals court lifted a stay on construction on International Drive.
There is irony in there somewhere.