Letter to the editor in today’s Savannah paper about merit-based study-

(Merit-based study) Letter to the editorSavannah Morning News, January 23, 2012

Are the objections by the South Carolina officials to Savannah River dredging and its request for a merit-based study of all Southeastern ports just a ploy to secure a competitive advantage for the Charleston port, as many in Georgia think?

On its face, the call for a merit-based study of all dredging sites seems prudent. Yet, the S.C. port has flatly refused a similar request for a merit-based study of potential sites for a new cruise terminal in Charleston requested by the two historic residential neighborhoods (South of Broad and Ansonborough) most impacted by the traffic congestion, soot, noise and skyline impairment from cruise ships docked in our neighborhoods.

Similarly, the S.C. port has publicly challenged Georgia’s dredging permit on the grounds that fish are not sufficiently protected by a mitigation plan centered on an aeration system costing Georgia over $50 million.

Yet, the S.C. port has refused to protect humans in Charleston from the air pollution of docked cruise ships burning dirty fuel to power a small town, even though shore power has worked in other ports and costs only a few million dollars.

Instead of conducting a merit-based study of its six Charleston terminals, the S.C. port has chosen a site at its Union Pier Terminal in the historic district, a location that does not make sense for these reasons:

• It goes against the normal practice of locating modern cruise terminals away from residential areas.

• It damages human health, property, quality of life and heritage tourism as publicized by local doctors, realtors, hoteliers, residents, preservation organizations and others over the past year.

Two national organizations (National Trust for Historic Preservation and World Monument Fund) have placed Charleston on a special watch list of endangered historic sites due to cruise operations in the historic district.

Our neighborhood associations have suggested an alternative cruise terminal site away from the historic district that would minimize the negative impacts from cruise passengers, most of whom travel to Charleston just to board the cruise ship.

We have petitioned our state leaders to rectify this embarrassing inconsistency by the S.C. Ports Authority and to order a merit-based study of alternative cruise terminal sites and environmental mitigation.

This is what the S.C. port has been preaching for dredging but not practicing for the cruise terminal; it is a telling inconsistency.

Head, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association
Cruise Ship Task Force
Charleston, S.C.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.