Category Archives: Events

On Thursday, October 23 the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will hold a public hearing allowing interested persons the opportunity to express concerns and comments regarding Santee Cooper’s plans to build a new coal-fired power plant near Kingsburg, South Carolina. The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. at Hannah-Pamplico High School’s gymnasium (2055 South Pamplico Highway, Pamplico, SC).

According to DHEC’s Notice of Public Hearing, “Santee Cooper is proposing to build a new coal-fired power plant near Kingsburg, South Carolina to meet increasing electricity demands in the Florence and Myrtle Beach areas. If approved, the plant will consist of two (2) coal-fired boilers with a maximum rated input capacity of 5,700 million British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour each. This NOMA is necessary because The United States Court of Appeals vacated (i.e. eliminated) the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) for power plants. Until a new power plant regulation is issued by the EPA, each new power plant will have to propose emission limits to control hazardous air pollutants, including mercury. DHEC is required to review the proposed limits and application and make a MACT determination. Hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from this plant will include Mercury (Hg), Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF), non-Mercury HAP metals, and organic HAPs.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center declares that “the plant would emit over 300 pounds of mercury into the Great Pee Dee River – a river that already has so much mercury in it that the fish are unsafe to eat,” every single year.

The mouth of the Pee Dee River is located just to our north in Georgetown, SC. What disturbs the quality of life in the upstate and elsewhere in South Carolina is bound to disturb the quality of life in Charleston. We are, after all, downstream of the rest of the state and will surely feel the affects of mercury contamination and other problems associated with coal-fired power plants.

If you cannot be present at tomorrow’s hearing, please submit a comment to DHEC online before the November 6 deadline.

The first annual Charleston Green Fair was held this weekend in Marion Square. With over 75 exhibitors ranging from sustainable food vendors to green building companies this free all-day event had something for everybody. The event promoted local businesses, local restaurants, local organizations, and local music (all “green” of course!). One business in particular, Wine Awhile, caught our attention by displaying their clever slogan on the back of their t-shirts, “Conserve Water, Drink Wine.” We at Charleston Waterkeeper want to thank Wine Awhile for their continued efforts to save our water! With hundreds of opportunities for attendees to take part in and learn about the concept of being green, this event marked the City of Charleston’s commitment to the green movement.

For many, the green movement might seem to be a relatively new concept; however, it’s as old as the earth itself. Senator Phil Leventis spoke of the value of being green in this day and age, but also alluded to the early steps taken in years past towards this environmental movement. He specifically noted the importance Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring” played in introducing environmental issues to the American people and to the United States Government. John Ramsburgh, SC Director of the Sierra Club, spoke about, “A Green Energy Future for South Carolina.”

Ian Sanchez, Executive Director of South Carolina Lowcountry Environmental Education Program (SC LEEP), talked about the need to reconnect with nature. In his speach, “Taking Lessons from the Natural World,” Ian talked about his experiences with kids around the Charleston area who did not have a connection with the natural world around them. Some local school kids in fact revealed to Ian that they had never seen the ocean. He noted with statistics and data that children who have a connection with nature are healthier, have higher self-esteems, and make better grades. Ian discussed the importance of using the world around us as a classroom, “looking around in the Lowcountry here, you have this incredible learning environment.” LEEP is a non-profit organization who’s mission, “is to provide opportunities for students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to explore South Carolina’s natural environment through experiential learning.” By exploring the connections between us and nature we all gain a hightened appreciation for the world around us.

Ian has just completed a short documentary entitled, “Web of Water,” that documents him kayaking from the mountains of South Carolina all the way down to the ocean here in Charleston. On his way from the mountain to the coastline, Ian met with many school kids showing them that all of life is connected by a web of water. Ian also invited Cyrus Buffum on stage to introduce Charleston Waterkeeper to the audience. Watch the video below to see Ian and Cyrus talk about issues regarding our water quality in Charleston and in South Carolina…

The first annual Charleston Green Fair came to an end as local band, Sol Driven Train, played to an enormous crowd under a Charleston sunset. Watch below as Sol Driven Train performs “Lighthouse,” a song off their new album…

Every year the Ocean Conservancy holds its “International Coastal Cleanup,” encouraging us all to spend a day to clean up our coastlines. On September 20, 2008 the SC Sea Grant Consortium and the SC Department of Natural Resources sponsored the 20th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep in South Carolina. Last year nearly 6,000 dedicated volunteers showed up to pick up litter and trash along South Carolina’s beaches, rivers, marshes, and creeks. 57-tons of debris, covering 1,345 miles of environmentally sensitive areas were removed during last year’s event. Throughout Beach Sweep/River Sweep’s 19 year history, 942.5 tons of litter have been collected and recycled when possible.

This year Charleston Waterkeeper helped coordinate the Folly Beach cleanup effort. With almost 300 volunteers from across the state (and country) we had everyone from school teachers, to students, boy scouts and girl scouts, and local celebrities. Volunteers swept from the Folly Beach County Park to the lighthouse-end of the island. The top three “culprits” found were cigarettes (3,258), bottle caps/lids (803), and food wrappers (510). Other peculiar items found include: fireworks, cloth flower petals, dog poop in plastic bags, a half of a telephone pole, a 55-gallon drum, lawn chairs, tent stakes, an acrylic fingernail, a horseshoe, 15 diapers, parts of a surfboard, a bilge pump, and underwear. A breakdown of the top eleven objects found on Folly Beach can be seen in the chart below.

Volunteers braved high winds and chilly temperatures during this year’s event. We even had vacationers and passing walkers join in on the cleanup efforts once they saw all the participants cleaning up the beach. Thank you to everyone who took part in Beach Sweep/River Sweep 2008, especially those who came out to Folly Beach and the other sites in Charleston! We couldn’t have had such a great success without you. We hope to see you all next year.

I will leave you with a Gandhi quote that was truly put into practice by all of the selfless volunteers that came out to help during this year’s Beach Sweep…

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Beach Sweep