Yesterday, after much speculation, citizens of Charleston, SC, led by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, filed a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines. They claim that the lawsuit is to "enforce local laws which protect the city's healthy environment and treasured historic assets." The lawsuit asserts that Carnival violates local ordinances, as well as operates without permits required by state pollution laws. The port authority released a statement in response to the lawsuit yesterday.
We believe this suit is frivolous and is intended to harass Carnival in hopes they will leave Charleston rather than endure further public attacks by this element of Charleston’s population. We also believe that the suit will inevitably fail on its complete lack of merit.
Unfortunately, Carnival is being used to strike out at the South Carolina Ports Authority and the City of Charleston. Carnival not only complies with all applicable laws and regulations but, in many cases, exceeds those requirements.
The South Carolina Ports Authority is directed by state law to enhance and increase waterborne commerce through the harbors and seaports of our State, including Charleston harbor. We are compelled to take all legal steps necessary to hasten the failure and end of this lawsuit in the shortest possible time.
This suit is a step toward limiting our state’s ability to conduct international commerce. We cannot – and will not – let that happen. Its premise denies this City’s 341-year-old maritime history.
Statement by Bill Stern, Chairman, S.C. States Port Authority:
Our commercial port system is the economic heart of South Carolina. This irresponsible lawsuit is not only an attack on a valued port customer; it is also an assault on jobs and economic growth all across our State.
The special interests behind this lawsuit are clearly attempting to harass port customers. Their goal is to cripple our port system to satisfy their anti-growth agenda. First it's cruise ships, then cargo ships. Next it will be trucks and rails. They don't seem to care that their agenda would irreparably damage economic development and kill jobs all across South Carolina.
It's time for people of goodwill to stand against this narrow-minded band of radicals and their frivolous, irresponsible lawsuits.
(courtesy of cruiseindustrynews.com )