Last year, our cruise lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. blogged about the South Carolina case involving the creation of a new port in Charleston. That legal battle is still ongoing, with environmentalists pushing for the idea to be scrapped, and the State pushing for the terminal on the grounds that it will increase revenue to the city.
At first, the idea seemed mostly favorable. South Carolina gave extensive consideration to a $35 million cruise ship terminal and obtained a permit from state environmental regulators at the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Taking activists’ concerns into consideration, the Ports Authority and Charleston officials even agreed to limit the number of cruise ship port calls to 104 per year in order to minimize the environment impact.
But then, in a move no one saw coming, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel decided to void the federal permit that had been issued for the cruise terminal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the grounds that the Corps of Engineers failed to give sufficient consider to the environmental impacts of the terminal. Environmentalists cheered, thinking they were victorious, but then, another unexpected turn of events took away the Environmentalist win.