Protecting South Carolina’s Natural Splendor
Jessie White, Coastal Conservation League, South Coast Office Manager
On March 4, 2021, Jessie White presented an overview of the Coastal Conservation League’s projects at the Greater Island Council of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton’s monthly general meeting of members.
About the Coastal Conservation League
The mission of the Coastal Conservation League is to protect the threatened resources of the South Carolina coastal plain—its natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, clean water, and quality of life—by working with citizens and government on comprehensive solutions to environmental challenges.
About Jessie White
Jessie White began her position as the South Coast Office Director of the Coastal Conservation League in March of 2020. The South Coast office manages projects in Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, and Hampton Counties. Prior to that, she spent seven years as a Staff Attorney with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. Jessie has a BA in Environmental Thought and Practice and Psychology from UVA and a J.D. from USC School of Law.
SC State topics:
- A bill in the State legislature to deregulate pyrolysis (melting plastic trash). Supporters of the bill want to be able to stockpile waste and post bonds for cleanup. Reminder that the recent trash pile in Jasper County which caught fire in June 2020 had to be removed by the SC Department of Environmental Control at a cost of $4.5 billion paid by SC citizens.
- GreenSpace bill regarding a penny tax to buy open space to protect them – Critical Lands program
- Complete Streets – accessible and safe streets for all modes of transportation, not just cars. Sun City and Ladies Island both have examples of how this can work. Taking a proactive look at the 278 Corridor to provide Complete Streets for the Stoney community and Jenkins Island. Beaufort has taken a leadership role in this area.
- Oyster Reef Build to slow erosion and restore and enhance water quality.
Topics focused on Beaufort/Jasper Counties:
- Coastal Resilience Overlay – disclosing that property is in low lying area in real estate transactions
- Fill Ordinance – to encourage building of structures on highest point by limiting fill dirt which leads to flooding on adjacent properties
- Update regional stormwater standards and emphasize more “green” solutions.
- Jasper Port – the river port which is 42 acres is moving through permitting. The Conservation League wants maximum protection of natural resources. This site is near the Savannah wildlife refuge. In February 2021, the South Carolina Ports Authority signed a deal to transfer 50% ownership of the Jasper Ocean Terminal to Jasper County. The other 50% is owned by the Georgia Ports Authority.
- Jasper wood pellet burning – facility agreed to stop
- Beaufort County denied the permit for Bay Point ecotourism special use allowance. This is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands
- Our local state delegates are aligned with the Conservation League in waste deregulation
- There are not a lot of ecotourism standards in place. Outside Foundation is a good example of good behavior.
- Localities are updating their comprehensive plans. This is a good opportunity to put in benchmarks of criteria. The Resiliency bill references resiliency in comprehensive plans. Want to work with nature, not fight it. Oyster Reef Build is a good example. Open space/Green space are important to have for flood water runoff
- Arbor Nature – SCDHEC will issue a permit today (Note: this permit was issued). The Conservation League will appeal. However, the rules allow for this kind of facility. The real problem is not having rules and regulations.
- Envisioning with Resilience bill would establish an Office of Resilience. However, no funding has been allocated to staff this office yet.
The League is a 501c3 headquartered in Charleston, SC with offices in Columbia, Horry County and Beaufort County.
Visit the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League website at: https://www.coastalconservationleague.org. The tab “Our Work” describes specific subjects such as Air and Water or Energy and Climate. You can also page down on the Our Work page and click on South Coast to see projects in the South Coast office.