The S.C. State Ports Authority is seeking to appeal a federal judge’s recent decision that forces the Army Corps of Engineers to further review the agency’s proposed $35 million cruise terminal in downtown Charleston.

Cruise litigation

There are three separate lawsuits challenging expanded cruise operations in downtown Charleston:

The S.C. State Ports Authority is appealing a federal judge’s recent order for the Army Corps of Engineers to redo its study that awarded a permit for the cruise terminal construction.

A group of neighborhood associations and environmentalists are suing the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regarding a permit allowing the pilings for the cruise terminal construction. The case is before the state’s Administrative Law Court.

The S.C. Supreme Court tossed out several but not all claims in a lawsuit challenging Carnival Cruise Lines’ operations in downtown Charleston. The Coastal Conservation League and neighborhood groups allege the cruises are a public nuisance and violate city zoning ordinances. The high court has not made a final ruling in the case.

Lawyers for the state’s maritime agency filed a notice late Thursday that they are appealing to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

In September, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel ordered the Army Corps to redo the study that gave a permit for SPA to build the new cruise terminal at Union Pier. Gergel ordered the Army Corps to go back and review the project more thoroughly.

“By filing the notice of appeal to the fourth circuit court of appeals, the Ports Authority is proceeding with the process provided by law for a new review of the Corps’ authorization for the additional pilings at its marine terminal,” SPA spokeswoman Erin Pabst said in a written statement.

The Coastal Conservation League and the Preservation Society of Charleston filed the case after the Army Corps issued a permit allowing five pilings to be driven on the waterfront.

The pilings are needed to help transform an existing warehouse into the new passenger building.

The opposition groups have said the agency didn’t take into account the impact on historic properties.

The SPA, which has joined the lawsuit as a defendant, has been seeking to relocate its cruise terminal to the north end of Union Pier from the south end for about three years.

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

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