Federal judge throws out North Charlestons rail complaint
North Charleston has lost the first skirmish in what could be a long and grueling legal war over the state’s plans to put an intermodal rail yard on the former Charleston Naval Base.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said today he will dismiss a federal complaint the city brought against the S.C. Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority. He said the rail yard plans remain in an early stage and the harm to the city isn’t clear -- other than some potential buyers being discouraged from locating on the base.
“I don’t have jurisdiction. It’s as simple as that,” Gergel told the more than one dozen lawyers representing the various governments and public agencies involved. “This controversy is not ripe for federal court.”
Gergelindicated the city could return to federal court and resurrect its claims under the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act once it has a clearer picture of the harm it faces from the rail yard proposal.
He noted the city still has several state lawsuits pending, and it also could pursue its concerns through the political process as well as the permitting process.
Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.