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SC Ports again seek cruise terminal permit

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 18, 2014 at 8:18 am •  Published: August 18, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Nearly a year after a judge tossed out a permit for a $35 million cruise terminal in Charleston, the South Carolina Ports Authority is once again seeking federal permission for the project.

Documents provided The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act show a new review of the contentious project will be more extensive than that conducted when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave initial permission in April of 2012. And another state approval is now needed.

The Ports Authority needs a federal permit to place additional pilings beneath on old waterfront warehouse it wants to renovate as a new terminal.

Environmental and preservation groups challenged the original permit and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel tossed it out last September. He ruled while the Corps considered how the terminal would affect navigable waters it did not study the larger impacts on the city and its historic district.

In a July 23 letter to the Corps, James Van Ness, a Ports Authority vice president, asks the Corps again begin its review of the project.

In response, Charleston District Engineer Lt. Col. John Litz said he will use his discretionary authority to require an individual permit, meaning a more detailed review. The earlier federal approval came under a so-called nationwide permit that authorizes, with limited delay and paperwork, activities considered to have only minimal environmental impact.

Litz asked the Ports Authority for any information that will be helpful when the Corps issues a public permit notice.

"The proposed project has received substantial media attention regarding potential impacts to air quality, historic properties and roadway traffic in the vicinity of the existing marine cargo and passenger terminal," he wrote. "Providing information about these issues will help inform the Corps' public interest review and will also inform interested parties."

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