The good news is that the Charleston Harbor shipping channel is being dredged to accommodate the ever-growing commercial container ships.
This deepening of the shipping channel is absolutely critical to the future success of the Port of Charleston and the billions of dollars of cargo that pass through its docks.
Tens of thousands of good jobs throughout South Carolina rely on the port and the cargo it handles.
These good jobs, commerce, tax base, history and culture must be protected at all costs.
Charleston’s ports and the vast amount of related jobs have contributed greatly to the success of the state for more than 300 years.
Congratulations and hats off to the entities involved in making this happen, including the State Ports Authority, Department of Natural Resources, the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Legislature and our federal government.
Now for the bad news.
A byproduct of the dredging is now gravely affecting the health of Charleston harbor in a dire and negative way.
As the dredgers scoop large buckets of sand, silt and mud from the bottom of the shipping channel, the spillage, unseen below the waterline, is being inadvertently redispersed back into the harbor while it is being transported to an awaiting barge, which then takes it offshore of Charleston and dumps it.
This bottom material results in a dense sedimentation of the water column and, depending on the wind direction and tide, this heavy byproduct is being dispersed mostly on either side of the harbor perimeter.
The heavy sediment also is filling in both sides of Fort Sumter and the historic sound behind Morris Island.
Nearly all longtime local and experienced mariners will agree that the entire side of James Island, around The Battery, the entrance of Shem Creek and in front of the Old Village in Mount Pleasant are nearly impassable around low tide. And it’s becoming worse by the day.
Please note that this is not a “call to arms” or the start of a finger-pointing blame game. This is most definitely not the time for politics, bureaucracy and idleness.
Instead, I am reaching out to all entities involved. I support them for working together and for having the vision to deepen the shipping channel while at the same time it is critical to show leadership and mitigate the harmful and ecological disaster that is only becoming worse by the day.
If action is not taken soon, it will leave us locals and the boating community “in the mud.”
BILL T. HARWELL
Ronald Reagan was fond of saying that your 80% friend or ally is not your 20% enemy or traitor. He emphasized America’s tradition of embracing common ground so that one might seek compromise when there was no other choice.
This was always America’s special strength. Our ability to work together enabled us to face and defeat existential threats like the Great Depression and Adolf Hitler.
Our collective genius is how we landed a man on the moon and invented the smartphone.
In all these instances, men and women of all races, creeds, colors and persuasions came together for the collective good. We need a return to that philosophy. Intractable division is simply untenable.
TOM DI FIGLIO
Duck Hawk Retreat
In regard to the design of the Ashley River pedestrian bridge, planners need to consider residents with physical disabilities as well as the physically fit.
In addition, the design should include “destination points” to facilitate community-building relationships.
For maximum year-round use and traffic mitigation, the Ashley River crossing should be wide enough to accommodate a lane for slow electric vehicles such as golf carts and motor-assist bicycles as well as wheelchairs.
This design would not be as weather-dependent or limiting to physically disabled residents.
Spaces to facilitate a community atmosphere such as refreshment kiosks, seating, shared lending libraries, fountains and landscaping would increase usage and build a community atmosphere.
The scope of this project needs to be broadened to maximize its usage year-round and to all residents.
GOP must reunite
A Saturday letter to the editor about our Republican Party divide says it all.
In a Sunday television program interview, Sen. Tim Scott was asked about President Joe Biden being elected.
Scott answered it so well by saying swiftly, of course, Biden was elected, and then went onto another issue.
Will former President Donald Trump fight Scott, too?
When will Republicans join together to get something done under the Biden presidency without Trump’s big lie?
MARTHA F. BARKLEY
Gun bill dangers
South Carolina’s Legislature is poised to pass a bill permitting the open carry of hand guns.
There will be no “Sorry, excuse me” and tears looking for forgiveness.
Once that bullet leaves the chamber of the gun, you can’t put it back, and someone may die.
The vote permitting open carry has just increased the chances of a human error turning into a moral tragedy.
The state of South Carolina remains on or near the bottom states on criminal domestic violence and education. And, it is one of three states without a hate crime law on its books.
This law of open carry increases the chances of getting away with murder.