Maintain Your Right to Protect Your Community
S.105 threatens to limit people's ability to successfully challenge the government when a person believes a permit is incorrectly issued. This bill weakens what is known as the Automatic Stay - a pause button that prevents harm from occurring while a challenge to a permit is considered.
Under the guise of promoting economic development, the bill limits the ability of people to fully participate in the public decision-making process. Our government should be making it easier for them to have their voices heard – not harder.
In short, the bill would allow construction to occur on a project BEFORE that project receives its permits. Short-circuiting the permitting process would put the air, land, and water of South Carolina at risk. Our natural resources fuel over a third of our state’s economy – they are too valuable to allow their destruction in this way.
The Automatic Stay temporarily prevents activity when a permit decision is challenged (before the permit is granted). The “stay” allows the court to assess the facts and law in order to determine whether the permit will allow an entity to pollute into the environment in the least harmful way. The “stay” avoids irreparable harm to people or places before that harm occurs -- protecting people, places, and investments.
This tool may be used by a wide range of entities - conservation groups, wastewater utilities, hospitals, restaurants, and any other entity that must obtain, or may be affected by, a DHEC permit for operation.
The stakes are high in permit challenges, for both an applicant and a challenger. Allowing an activity to begin with a faulty permit or requiring citizens to post high bonds would significantly harm people's ability to protect their community from irreparable harm.
S.105 proposes a set a time limit to the Stay instead of the current process where a motion can be made at any time to have it lifted. The bill then makes any further hold be placed only through injunctive relief, putting the burden of proof on citizens and making the process much more costly.
On April 20th, a House Subcommittee bad this bad bill even worse.
The House Judiciary Committee made a bad bill even worse. An ammendent is threatening to further limit the auto stay to 30 days (down from 90), remove hazardous waste dumping protections added by the Senate, and eliminate the appeals process if the project in question is completed before the appeal has been heard.
Ask your Representative to oppose S.105 and protect the automatic stay.
Read more about the bill and the permitting process here.