Today, I think I’ll use some columns I read in the papers this morning as conversation-starters. We’ll begin with Cindi Scoppe’s balanced, thoughtful approach to DHEC’s granting of a dredging permit to Georgia.
As is her wont, she skewers weak arguments on all sides:
- To those who ask, “Did Gov. Haley pressure her appointees to the DHEC board to approve the permit?,” she explains that it doesn’t matter. The governor says she fully supports the decision. She takes ownership of it. It doesn’t matter whether she pressured anyone. And what pressure can she exert? She appointed these people, but she lacks power to remove them. Who cares? She appointed them, she in no way distances herself from the decision.
- Then there’s this red herring: “Why did the DHEC commissioners put Georgia’s economic interests above the economic interests of the state of South Carolina?” It’s not DHEC’s job to decide on the basis of economic interests. It’s their job to protect the environment, which is a separate question.
Here’s the question Cindi urges lawmakers to concentrate on: Did the Corps of Engineers and Georgia grant enough concessions to meet our state’s environmental requirements?
She continues with a discussion of various aspects of that consideration.
Then, in the end, she offers this bit of simple clarity:
We probably wouldn’t have to worry so much about cozying up to our competitors if our own Sen. Jim DeMint hadn’t helped put the Port of Charleston even further behind the Savannah Port, by delaying efforts to dredge Charleston Harbor. But the sad truth is that he has done far more to damage the Port of Charleston than anything DHEC could ever do. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much the Legislature can do about that.
All around, a good, solid column on a difficult issue.