USA: Governor’s Veto Compounds Bad Decision for SC

Gov. Nikki Haley yesterday vetoed an act protecting SC’s waterways & economic interests. Approved by a 111-0 House vote & then by a 37-0 Senate vote, the act:

– Acknowledges DHEC violated existing 2007 state law, issuing an invalid dredging permit when it bypassed the approval of the Savannah River Maritime Commission

– Reaffirmed laws requiring the Governor’s DHEC Board to gain Commission approval before acting on Savannah River navigability, depth, dredging, sludge disposal, etc issues

– Retroactively codifies existing 2007 state law, clearly stating the Maritime Commission’s authority supersedes DHEC’s when related to the above mentioned river issues.

Legislative leaders comment on the Governor’s veto:

House Speaker Bobby Harrell said, “The Governor is looking for an out when she should be looking for an opportunity to join in with us on the fight to protect South Carolina’s environment and economy. The Governor is trying to focus on what’s not in the bill, because she doesn’t want to talk about what is in the bill she vetoed. The fact is, in a clear violation of state law, the Governor’s DHEC Board voted to issue an invalid dredging permit. The vetoed bill directly states that DHEC did not have the authority to unilaterally approve this dredging permit.

Rep. Jim Merrill, the lead sponsor of the bill said, “It’s unfortunate how much time we’ve had to spend fighting our state’s own Governor on protecting South Carolina’s best interests. This veto explanation doesn’t hold water, but had the Governor signed the bill into law, she could have been the one to deliver the life-preserver needed to save our state from drowning in DHEC’s mistake.”

Chairman Bill Sandifer, House LCI Committee said, “The Governor had a unique opportunity to right an unfortunate wrong – a wrong that negatively affects an industry directly tied to 1/5 of all jobs in our state. The Governor’s veto places Charleston’s Port at a competitive disadvantage, jeopardizes the very existence of a future Port in Jasper and ignores overwhelming scientific evidence showing the irreversible damage this would do to our state’s natural resources.”

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, February 28, 2012

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