Stop King Tract Mine in Awendaw
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Help us protect the Cape Romain!
An out-of-state landowner proposes to destroy acres of wetlands and woods to mine sand and has pumped acid water into canals that lead to the intra-coastal waterway at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. This landowner, King Tract, LLC in Atlanta, has had many violations for discharging acid water, which threatens the ecosystem of the Cape Romain Refuge for his profits. This landowner has applied for a permit to create a mine 10 times larger than his current mine. Legislators, environmental groups such as the Coastal Conservation League and the South Carolina environmental Law Project, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition and many concerned citizens oppose this destruction of our sensitive coastal areas.
In addition to the environmental degradation, this mine would put 40 enormous dump trucks a day on the 2 lane country road where residents walk and bike, children get on and off school buses and many area bicyclists frequently ride.This is an accident waiting to happen!
However, the landowner, represented by his attorney, sued the town of Awendaw in court when they tried to limit this destruction. To make matters worse, this landowner wants this permit to cover an entire 1,300 acre tract of land right next to the Cape Romain! We need to stop him and protect the Cape Romain!
Sign the petition and tell the South Carolina Department of Environmental Health and Control, the South Carolina Mining Council and the Town of Awendaw that the destruction of our coastal areas endangers the Cape Romain, the last pristine undeveloped area on the east coast. Help us protect the Cape Romain National Refuge!
For those of you who would like more details, in 2018, the Awendaw Board of Zoning Appeals granted preliminary approval for a special exception permit to mine the entire 1,300 acres of the King Tract immediately adjacent to the Cape Romain.
The King Tract LLC then applied to DHEC for a permit and, despite considerable opposition from Awendaw residents and environmental groups as well as water quality discharge violations by this owner, DHEC granted the permit in 2020. Immediately after DHEC granted this ill-advised permit, the Coastal Conservation League, represented by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, filed suit against the King Tract LLC and DHEC.
On November 2, 2020 the Awendaw Board of Zoning Appeals met to consider the King Tract's request for final approval for this enormous expansion. At that meeting the BZA voted to DENY the permit to mine this environmentally sensitive area so close to the Cape Romain. The King Tract LLC filed suit against the town for their denial of the permit.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, the town met again on February 1 and rescinded the vote to deny the permit and heard additional comments from the King Tract lawyer (although no town residents were allowed to either attend the meeting or call in with comments). The BZA indicated that they would take comments from residents and other concerned parties until 2/17 and would meet again on March 1, presumably to vote on this permit application. It appears that the Development Agreement of 2009 between the Town of Awendaw and the King Tract LLC will make it difficult for the BZA to deny this permit.
However, the 2009 Agreement states that the King Tract must have a DHEC permit before coming to the town for final approval. If for no other reason, how can the Town BZA make a decision on March 1when there is an outstanding judicial review on the DHEC permit? There will be a hearing with the Mining Council on this matter sometime after March 8, 2021. Since this matter is under judicial review, it cannot be said that the King Tract has a valid permit issued by DHEC in order for the Town BZA to make a decision on a final permit approval.
Please send your comments to the Town of Awendaw (email@example.com) by Wednesday February 17.
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