Charles Lane is the winner of the latest Golden Pen award for his March 4 letter that urged the S.C. Ports Authority to take a bigger role in helping shield historic Charleston from rising sea levels.
Mr. Lane noted that the SPA “owns vast swaths of Charleston Harbor’s waterfront, determines the economic future of many of our businesses and provides meaningful work to many.”
With the Army Corps of Engineers recently unveiling a $1.75 billion plan to build a roughly 8-mile sea wall around the lower peninsula, Charlestonians are indeed faced with a tough choice: defending the city at great cost or retreating and letting it go under.
Missing from the conversation, however, is the SPA, Mr. Lane said. He also criticized the state agency for refusing to negotiate with city leaders regarding a tax on cruise ship passengers when the city needs more money to fight flooding.
“Being a port operator, the SCPA’s infrastructure is uniquely vulnerable to rising seas, but no noticeable improvements have been made to raise roads to their facilities, build sea walls or engage with the general public in the issue,” he wrote.
Mr. Lane questioned if the SPA planned to “abandon its properties downtown and move to North Charleston?” But he also stated that we should assume its “leadership is informed enough to know rising sea levels are a real and present danger.” Even so, he said the SPA had done little to reduce carbon emissions.
“Maybe reducing emissions at the port will not have a meaningful global impact, but should we not at least show some solidarity with a dying planet?
The Golden Pen is awarded monthly, and winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the newspaper’s editorial staff.