Federal government shutdown stalls cruise terminal lawsuit

  • Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013 10:12 a.m., Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 10:48 a.m.

The Army Corps of Engineers wants additional time to respond to a federal judge’s order to redo its study that approved a new cruise terminal in downtown Charleston, citing limited operations due to the federal government shutdown.

Lawyers for the Army Corps filed a motion days ago, asking U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel for additional time to respond to an order to redo its study that awarded a permit for the S.C. State Ports Authority to build its $35 million cruise terminal at Union Pier.

The Coastal Conservation League and the Preservation Society of Charleston are suing the Army Corps over the permit it issued allowing five pilings to be driven on the waterfront for the proposed cruise terminal.

In September, Gergel ordered the Army Corps to redo the study with a more extensive review of environmental and historic impacts of the new cruise terminal.

The federal agency was ordered to respond to the order by Oct. 16, according to court records.

Gergel responded to the agency’s recent extension request, saying the court may not have the authority to change the deadline. Both sides have until Tuesday to file additional documents to support the extension request.

The Army Corps is represented in the case by the Department of Justice.

Both groups are among the several agencies furloughed due to the federal government shutdown, which started on Oct. 1.

The SPA has been planning to construct the new cruise terminal at the north end of Union Pier since 2010.

The opponents have said the Army Corps didn’t take into account the impact on historic properties. The pilings are needed to help transform an existing warehouse into the new passenger building. The SPA joined the Army Corps this year in defending its permit.

The federal case is one of three lawsuits opposing extended cruise operations in downtown Charleston.

Check postandcourier.com for more updates.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.

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