Love the Wetlands

Via the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP): SCELP.org

Get the Press Release here.

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP) is a non-profit public interest law firm, dedicated to protection of the South Carolina environment. We are the only such organization that focuses exclusively on South Carolina.

SCELP’s goal is to protect South Carolina’s natural resources and environment through forceful legal advocacy. SCELP provides concerned citizens and environmental groups the services of attorneys with broad experience in environmental law, and we handle a wide variety of environmental cases throughout the state.

One such case involves our isolated wetlands, and a private citizens’ group’s right to argue for preservation.

For ten years the environmental community has fought for state-wide protections for “isolated wetlands,” wetlands that are not adjacent or connected to navigable waters. This fight was necessitated by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2001 which eliminated federal protection for between 300,000 and 600,000 acres of isolated wetlands in South Carolina. Since that time, the environmental community has made attempts at legislative fixes to ensure protection. SCELP has always taken the position that such wetlands are protected under our state’s Pollution Control Act, but no court had ever held as such.

In 2007, members of the Georgetown County League of Women Voters contacted SCELP and informed us of clearing and filling occurring on a small lot in Pawleys Island. The lot contained a pond and wetland that are part of one of the unique wetland bodies referred to as a Carolina Bay. Smith Land Company cleared the lot, brought in truckloads of dirt, and filled the wetlands and pond without receiving a permit from DHEC. The wetlands on the property were delineated as “isolated” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, meaning that no federal Clean Water Act permit is required. On behalf of the League of Women Voters, SCELP challenged the action arguing that the Pollution Control Act requires a permit before filling the isolated wetlands, which are waters of the State. Smith Land Company argued, and the circuit court agreed, that DHEC similarly did not have jurisdiction to regulate isolated wetlands. The circuit court also held that the citizens groups did not have a right to bring an action under the Pollution Control Act. SCELP appealed that decision.

On July 11, 2011, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion declaring that S.C. law requires protection of isolated wetlands. The Court first noted that while the U.S. Supreme Court has held that isolated wetlands are not covered under the federal Clean Water Act, this has no impact on DHEC’s ability to regulate those wetlands. The Court found that DHEC in fact has jurisdiction to regulate isolated wetlands based on the clear language in the Pollution Control Act. Given that DHEC has jurisdiction over the isolated wetlands, the Court next held that Smith Land Company was required to get a permit from DHEC before filling the wetlands. Smith Land Company violated South Carolina law by filling isolated wetlands without a valid state permit. Finally, the Court held that the Pollution Control Act provides a private right of action. In other words, private citizens and groups can sue to enforce the provisions of the Act.

In sum, the Supreme Court’s order provides important protections to our State’s ecologically diverse and valuable “isolated” wetlands. Carolina Bays are only one example of the unique ecosystems that can be found in such wetlands. Prior to filling in any isolated wetlands in the State, a Pollution Control Act permit is now required. The Court’s order also struck down what would have been a significant obstacle to those citizens seeking environmental accountability in this State. The Supreme Court’s opinion leaves no doubt that the Pollution Control Act opens the door for private citizens to enforce its terms. SCELP’s Amy Armstrong said the case is a “landmark decision establishing protections for isolated wetlands throughout the State, and mandating that a State permit be obtained prior to filling any of our State’s unique and essential wetland resources.”

Please visit SCELP.org to learn more about this and other cases involving protection of our beautiful coastal environments.

June 1, 2012 – Important Update to Supreme Court Isolated Wetlands Ruling

Legislators are poised to derail a 2011 S.C. Supreme Court decision that gave extra protection to wetlands and made it easier for the public to sue alleged polluters under state law.

A “compromise bill,” approved Wednesday by the Senate, preserves a handful of existing lawsuits by citizens’ groups, including one against dredging the port of Savannah and another over discharges of toxic arsenic into the Wateree River near Columbia.

But the legislation won’t allow future citizens’ lawsuits for violation of the state’s pollution control law, nor will it require the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to establish a permitting program for potentially hundreds of thousands of acres of isolated wetlands not now protected by federal law.

Read the SCELP alert here. Get the full story from The State here. “Like” SCELP on Facebook.

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Info@mywcf.org

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WCF Disaster Relief Fund

Through the Disaster Relief Fund, Waccamaw Community Foundation serves as the primary point of financial donations for all disaster relief and recovery efforts in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

Tim Whitten

Tim@mywcf.org

843-357-4483

A native of Alabama, Tim received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Auburn University and a master’s degree in religion from Lenoir-Rhyne University. He brings to WCF a background in grant writing and in disaster recovery most recently serving the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Tim resides in Galivants Ferry with his wife Julie and their four children.

Phillip Anderson

Director

Phillip Anderson is a Senior Vice President & Senior Lending Officer for Asheville, North Carolina-based HomeTrust Bank, serving the coast of South Carolina. Throughout his 22-year banking career, he has served in commercial banking, trust administration, retail banking, and market leadership roles with mid-size and regional banks in South Carolina and Georgia. He has always embodied the community banking model of building strong local relationships and being active in numerous non-profits and promoting their causes.
 
He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, GA, the Cannon Financial Institute’s Trust School, The Stonier Graduate School of Banking and Wharton Leadership program. He is also a graduate of several Chamber of Commerce Leadership programs over his career.
 
Phillip resides in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, with his wife Mary Beth and daughter Carolina. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and playing golf.

Ellen Barney Sycks

Stewardship & Communications Officer

ellen@mywcf.org
614-893-7998

Ellen serves the Foundation as its Stewardship and Communications Officer, responsible for communicating with fund holders on a regular basis and providing advice when needed, particularly around fund development as well as relevant field of interest information.

A native of Hillsboro, Ohio, Ellen provides more than three decades of non-profit leadership experience, focusing on creating major gift and planned giving opportunities to support organizations’ programs, special projects and capital campaigns. Ellen received her B.A. in National Security Policy from The Ohio State University. She lives in Murrells Inlet with her husband Jay and their two cats, Mabel and Murray.

Chris Hanna

Director

Chris Hanna is a Senior Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. Born and raised in Myrtle Beach, he started in the real estate business in 1993. Chris is a member of the Coastal Carolinas, South Carolina and National Associations of REALTORS and is an active local community member as well, having served on various boards such as the Horry County Zoning Board of Appeals, the Coastal Carolina Athletic Foundation, and Horry County school district Carolina Forest Advisory Board. He is a member of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality and Oceanview Baptist Church. Chris is a graduate of Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, and he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina at Coastal Carolina in 1992.

Rick Elliott

Director

Rick Elliott is president of his family business, Elliott Realty, one of the most prominent real estate companies in North Myrtle Beach. As a native of Horry County, he has always made giving back to the community a part of his approach to business. Each guest who stays with Elliott Realty is given the option to add an additional $1 per night to their bill to be donated to the Elliott Realty Charitable Community Fund at Waccamaw Community Foundation, which invests in causes throughout the surrounding community. Rick brings this commitment to community philanthropy to his service on the Waccamaw Community Foundation Board of Directors. He has also served as the chairman of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.



Tyler Easterling

Director

Tyler Easterling is a native of Marietta, Georgia and has resided in Georgetown County since moving to the area in 2002. Tyler is the president and COO of The Brandon Agency, an integrated marketing agency headquartered in Myrtle Beach. She is the current board chair for Coastal Montessori Charter School and serves on the boards of Helping Hands of Georgetown and Young Presidents’ Organization Southern 7 Chapter. She is a member of the 2018 Liberty Fellowship class.

Tyler holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Mississippi and a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She is an active member of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church and enjoys spending time with her husband, Marshall, and two daughters, Julia and Anne Marshall.



Terri DeCenzo

Director

Terri serves as executive director of Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University (WIPL). She is married to Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzo, and when he joined the university in 2002, she became passionately involved with the life of the university, taking an active role in issues relating to student government and NCAA athletics, among others. Previously Terri has served on the boards of the American Red Cross and the Foundation for Georgetown Hospital System and was an adviser to the Safe Families Initiative that established Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties. In 2016, Terri was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. A graduate of St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing and Towson University, she spent most of her career practicing in critical care. The DeCenzo’s have four children: Mark (his wife Jen), Meredith (and her husband Ryan Daley), Gabriella and Natalie; and one beautiful grandson, William Mason Evans.


Executive Director, Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University (WIPL)

Dr. Tracy Bailey

Director

Dr. Tracy Bailey earned a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Language and Literacy at the University of South Carolina in May of 2013. She is a Teaching Associate with Coastal Carolina University teaching Intermediate Literacy Development and Instructional Practices for Early Literacy.

Dr. Bailey began her career in education as a high school English instructor and has worked in both rural and urban educational settings. After realizing the impact professional development and community literacy had on her personal and professional growth, she wanted others to experience this. She is the founder and executive director of Freedom Readers, Inc., a nonprofit company dedicated to promoting literacy. Tracy seeks to instill in teachers, students, and the community at large the belief that every student can learn and every learner has the responsibility to pass on new knowledge to another.

Dr. Bailey earned her BA from The College of Charleston- majoring in English Education- and a Masters in Secondary Education from Coastal Carolina University. She is married to award-winning writer, Issac J. Bailey, and is the mother of two wonderful children, Kyle and Lyric.



Brent Groome

Chair

A 1987 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Brent came to the Grand Strand area in 1989. After a 31 year career with HTC (Horry Telephone Cooperative), he retired in 2021.  In addition to his current role with WCF, he also serves as a member of the Board of Commissioners for HGTC. He is also active with his church; serving as a Sunday School teacher and congregational song leader.  He and his wife, Dana, live in the Conway area.

Shawna Mosley-Foster

Service and Operations Officer

shawna@mywcf.org
843-357-4483 x200

Shawna, a native of Jamaica, NY, has more than 15 years of experience working in the hospitality and tourism field. Since relocating to South Carolina in 2004, she spent a few more years working with a local hospitality company before joining WCF’s staff.  While a native New Yorker, Shawna has a rich heritage right here in the Waccamaw area. Her mother was born and raised on Sandy Island, and her father is from Bucksport. She enjoys cooking, stargazing with her family, cruising and once retired….RVing! Shawna and her husband are empty nesters and resides in Myrtle Beach. 

Mike Mancuso

Executive Director

mike@mywcf.org
843-357-4483


Mike is a veteran business leader with more than 30 years of experience as an innovative problem solver and change agent for nonprofit, banking and small business organizations. Mike is a skilled economic developer with background in community development, downtown redevelopment, industrial development and strategic planning. His passion is helping Communities and Businesses thrive and grow. Most recently Mike served as the President and CEO of the Triangle East Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Foundation in Johnston County, NC and as Executive Director for the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, Inc in Salem, OH. Mike and his wife Christine make their home in Little River, SC. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren living in Charleston, SC, Atlanta, GA, & Austin TX. Mike enjoys boating on the ICW, tinkering in his workshop/garage and spending time with family and friends.