Earlier this weekend, the South Carolina Supreme Court dismissed lawsuits filed by the Preservation Society of Charleston, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and neighborhood groups against Carnival Cruise Lines. The lawsuits alleged that Carnival’s ship operations in the city violated local noise and pollution laws. The groups sought to have cruise operations blocked in the city and to make it illegal for the city to construct a new cruise terminal.
Hearings in the case began last summer, presided by Circuit Judge Clifton Newman. The local groups argued that the cruise ships create an unhealthy amount of soot, traffic, noise, and waste. These points were continuously argued, even though only one cruise ship homeports in the city once or twice a week, depending on the itinerary operated.
Finally, after months of hearings and endless negative campaigning by local opposition groups, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Carnival Cruise Lines. Circuit Judge Newman had recommended that the lawsuits be dismissed as he could not find Carnival in violation of any local or state pollution and noise laws. The South Carolina Supreme Court opted to adopt the recommendation of Newman.
The South Carolina Supreme Court received wide approval from local Charleston citizens and key public figures for the high court’s decision on the case. Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. noted his approval for the ruling: “We find the court’s ruling a very positive development in dismissing a number of the causes of action.” In addition, Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, noted, “[we are] grateful to the Supreme Court for taking this important case in its original jurisdiction, and we are optimistic that this action will lead to an expeditious resolution to remainder of the lawsuit.”
Header photo: Mike Faust.