The State Ports Authority is urging state regulators to forward the appeal of a permit for a new cruise ship terminal to a court.

An attorney for the port sent a 53-page packet to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday, urging the DHEC board to decline further review of a recent staff approval allowing the SPA to install pilings at Union Pier.

The port plans to convert an existing warehouse into its new passenger terminal.

“Opponents intend on pursuing this matter in a request for a contested case hearing before the South Carolina Administrative Law Court in continuation of their ongoing crusade against the cruise business,” according to a letter from attorney Randolph R. Lowell that was included in the packet.

The letter urged the board to decline another review of the permit and to allow the issue to be heard by the court “in the most expeditious manner possible.”

The DHEC board is expected to vote on the issue Thursday.

If the DHEC permit challenge goes to court, it adds to other legal challenges about cruise operations in the city, including a state Supreme Court case alleging Carnival Cruise Lines violates city ordinances and nuisance laws.

The Supreme Court case forced Carnival to halt long-term contract talks with SPA until the legal issue is resolved, according to an August 2011 affidavit by Jim Newsome, CEO of the ports authority.

See upcoming editions of The Post and Courier for more details.