Developers challenge SC wetlands preservation

Thousands of acres of freshwater wetlands could be endangered under a proposed resolution to be discussed today by a state House committee.

The changes are favored by developers who want fewer rules governing building in coastal South Carolina.

In April, Reps. William Witherspoon, R-Conway, and Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville, proposed a resolution that would require the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and its Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to review coastal management policies that have been in place for more than 30 years. The resolution also would require the General Assembly to approve any new regulations recommended by DHEC covering coastal development.

DHEC had promulgated policies to protect isolated wetlands after a 2001 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that isolated wetlands were no longer under federal jurisdiction. The state stepped in to protect isolated wetlands, but did not get its policies approved by the General Assembly.

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