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Published: 26 October 2008      

Court boost for Charleston Navy terminal

The South Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld an Administrative Law Court order that dismissed challenges by the SC Coastal Conservation League to the permits for the Port of Charleston’s planned new Navy Base Terminal and port access road

"We're pleased with the opinion and are ready to move on," said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president & CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA). “Every state and federal permitting agency that reviewed this project has signed it off.”

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals agreed with a previous ruling in favour of the SCSPA and the SC Department of Transportation.

The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued water quality permits for the terminal and road in late 2006. Early last year, the SC Coastal Conservation League (SCCCL) sought to challenge both permits before the DHEC Board.

Although the Board heard the merits and upheld the staff decision to issue the permits, the SCCCL then filed contested cases with the Law Court (ALC) order.

The SCSPA argued that the SCCCL did not follow the law and was late in filing its request for final review at the ALC. The ALC agreed and dismissed the SCCCL’s challenges. The SCCCL then filed a motion for reconsideration, once again after the time for such an action had expired.

In its opinion, the Court noted that the SCCCL did not file the appeal within the legal time period and even failed to request notification of the staff decision to issue the permit.

The Court also found that the SCCCL’s due process rights were not violated because it failed to comply with established procedures that would have entitled it to notification.

Meanwhile, development of the new Navy Base Terminal is advancing. The early phases of building demolition are complete and site preparation is well underway. In July, work began to install 662 miles of wick drains at the terminal site to prepare the land for construction.

“Port expansion is vital to the long-term economic health of the Charleston area and the entire state of South Carolina,” said Groseclose. “It’s essential that we press on with this project.”

  • The Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office Board of Directors has agreed to retain programme management services to develop feasibility studies, quantify capital needs and perform overall management for the Jasper Ocean Terminal. In August, the Joint Project Office (JPO) Board authorised the solicitations of Requests for Qualification and Expressions of Interest for Program Management Services.

Six qualified firms were asked to submit bids and two bids were received. Last month the completed bids were reviewed and the JPO Board has selected Moffatt & Nichol.

As project manager, Moffatt & Nichol will provide preliminary terminal planning, economic analyses, market studies, and dredged material management and conceptual infrastructure planning.

“The selection of a program manager by the Joint Project Office’s Board of Directors is an important step toward meeting future shipping needs for this region,” said Jim Balloun, Chairman, JPO.

As previously reported, in January SCSPA and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) signed an intergovernmental agreement for development of a Jasper port to contract for, jointly own, manage and plan for the development of the Jasper Ocean Terminal. The agreement further provides that the GPA and SCSPA will “jointly staff, equip, and operate a Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office.”

One member of the six member JPO Board of Directors is appointed by each state’s governor, two members are appointed by each port’s board chairman from his board of directors. Additionally, a member of each Governor’s staff and the executive director of the GPA and the president of the SCPA serve as ex officio, non-voting members. Current members of the JPO Board are as follows:

James (Jim) S. Balloun, Board Chair (GA); William (Bill) Bethea, Jr. Board Vice Chair (SC); Steve Green (GA); Bernard (Bernie) S. Groseclose (SC); James (Jim) R. Lientz (GA); Doug J. Marchand (GA); Alex Poitevint (GA); David (Dave) J. Posek (SC); Bill Stern (SC); E. Brandon Gaskins(SC). In July, the GPA and the SCSPA completed the joint acquisition of 1518 acres of land from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the development of the Jasper Ocean Terminal on the Savannah River in Jasper County.

 “The first step for the program manager will be to focus on feasibility studies to support the release and relocation of the existing Corps of Engineers’ easements currently located on the parcels of the Jasper Ocean Terminal study site” said Bill Bethea, JPO Board vice-chairman.

“We will also continue the studies to establish the feasibility and cost of building a container terminal in Jasper County and begin preliminary planning for the terminal site itself.”


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  • Moffat & Nichol
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