Sanford Urges Delay in Implementation of DHEC's Beachfront Lines
CHARLESTON, SC - Yesterday, Representative Mark Sanford sent a letter to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), asking Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece to delay the implementation of the department’s newly proposed beachfront jurisdictional lines:
He released the following statement:
“Many homeowners across the Lowcountry are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma and still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. To now burden them with what amounts to a shortened comment period seems unfair and ill-timed.
“For regulations to be fair and meaningful, they must judiciously balance public and private interests. I don’t believe that the current roll-out of beachfront jurisdictional lines passes this test. In that regard, I join with many of my constituents in asking for a one-year delay in the implementation of these proposed lines.”
Full text of the letter below:
October 23, 2017
The Honorable Myra Reece
Director of Environmental Affairs
S.C. Dept of Health & Environmental Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Dear Director Reece,
I write to join with many of my constituents in asking for a one-year delay in the implementation of your department’s beachfront jurisdictional lines.
For regulations to be fair and meaningful, I believe that they must judiciously balance public and private interests. Where those two interests are competing, they must be laid out in transparent form and allow people time to make modifications in their lives and properties. I don’t believe that the current roll out of jurisdictional lines passes this test and therefore I believe it in the best interest of both the state and individuals along the coast to allow more time in moving forward.
In fact, many homeowners on Edisto Beach and other barrier islands were informed of the proposed changes well after the 30-day public comment period commenced on October 6th. Additionally, the public hearings hosted by DHEC this week come just two weeks before the public comment period closes on November 6th. This is particularly grating for many individuals on the coast who have had to deal with trees down, sand moved and houses flooded in the wake of this fall’s storm. It’s not fair to ask people to focus on a comment period when they’re in fact forced to focus on the basics of life and all that comes in the aftermath of coastal hurricanes and flooding.
On this point, the deadlines for beachfront jurisdictional lines were passed (S.C. Senate Bill 139) and signed into law in the summer of 2016, just months before our region was hit by the first of two hurricanes in two years. As stated, property owners across the Lowcountry are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. For all these reasons and more, it seems more than reasonable to delay the implementation of these jurisdictional lines by a year. I respectfully ask your department look very strongly at doing so. Thank you for your consideration.