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Posted 6/21/2016

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By Sara Corbett and Sean McBride


The Charleston District regulatory division strives to provide fair and reasonable permit decisions that balance economic development needs while protecting our environment. One way to maintain this balance is to host public information workshops and public hearings to give the public the opportunity to learn more about a proposed project and also provide their input, concerns and opinions. Recently the District hosted two workshops and public hearings on two different proposed projects, Union Pier Terminal and the Navy Base Intermodal Container Transfer Facility.

The first was for the South Carolina Ports Authority’s application for a Department of the Army permit to renovate Building 322, an existing pile supported warehouse, and to reconfigure existing operations at Union Pier Terminal. The proposed work is part of an overall plan to relocate existing cruise operations from the southern to the northern end of Union Pier Terminal. In August 2014, the Corps determined that the public interest in this case merited an expanded review process and exercised discretionary authority to require an individual permit for the proposed project.

The second meeting was for the Navy Base ICTF. Proposed by Palmetto Railways, the project would consist of construction and operation of an intermodal container transfer facility at the former Charleston Naval Complex in North Charleston for moving containers from the port to trains for transport around the country. The District recently completed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project and was showcasing the findings at the meeting and taking public comments that would be incorporated into the completion of the Final EIS.

“We pride ourselves on being open and accessible to the public, especially with proposed projects such as the Union Pier Terminal and Navy Base ICTF,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Luzzatto, district commander. “These workshops and hearings allow the Corps to interact with the public to assure them that we are listening to their concerns and we are doing the best we can to address them.”

At the open house for both projects, the District had informational displays set-up and staff was available for questions and comments from the public. These displays addressed traffic patterns, water and air quality, historic properties, and more. These informal sessions allow for the public to get more in-depth answers from the experts who have completed the studies. The open houses were followed by the formal hearings, where members of the public were able to stand and verbally provide their comments and concerns about the projects.

Due to the public interest in these projects, the comment periods were extended from 15 to 60 days and 45 days to 60 days, respectively. It is important to the District to remain open and transparent to the public and provide ample time to review the documents and provide the feedback that is critical to the success of our permit decisions.

Currently, the District is reviewing and consolidating the comments for both projects. Once that is completed the District will request any additional information from the project applicants, if it is needed. From there the District has three options; issue the permit for the proposed project, deny the permit, or issue the permit with special conditions. At this time, the District cannot project a specific date by which it will make a permit decision on either project, but we are committed to balancing the proposed projects’ purposes with effects on the human and natural environment.

For more information on our permitting process visit:
www.sac.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory.aspx.

For more information on the Navy Base ICTF Draft EIS visit:
www.navybaseictf.com.

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