Don’t Expand Landfill Into Pristine Wetlands

Francis Beidler Forest

Target: Catherine B. Templeton, Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Goal: Don’t let landfill expand into protected wetlands.

The Francis Beidler Forest is a 16,500 acre forested wetland reserve as well as a National Audubon Society wildlife sanctuary. The area’s old-growth cypress-tupelo swamp is home to a diverse array of animal and plant life. Sadly, this is being threatened by Oakridge Landfill Inc.—a company that has applied for a 401 Water Quality Certification that would allow them to fill more than 14 acres of freshwater wetlands in the region. Oakridge is planning a class three landfill for this location, meaning the dumping site would be composed of municipal solid waste as well as construction and demolition industrial waste.

This landfill would be a travesty. Francis Beidler Forest is far too valuable to allow something as harmful and intrusive as a landfill to pollute the area. This forest is awash in valuable natural locales such as the Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, Society of American Foresters Natural Area, and others. The wetland area is of special importance as its largely intact condition has allowed it to be recognized as a reference watershed. This means that the area is looked upon as the model of what a blackwater swamp is and should be, a guidepost for preserving other such ecosystems.

If the certification is granted, this area would see the destruction of roughly 18 acres of forested wetland as well as an entire complex of first and second order streams. The harm to these streams would in turn impact the larger primary streams they flow into, stretching the damage much further. This would be a significant chink in the proverbial armor of the area’s ecosystem, and that is without even accounting for the resultant runoff pollution. Should any runoff not be controlled and contained, the environmental ramifications would be devastating. This must not come to pass. South Carolina cannot allow Oakridge Landfill to destroy a portion of the Francis Beidler Forest.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Templeton,

The application for a 401 Water Quality Certification by Oakridge Landfill Inc. is a distinct threat to the 16,500 acre Francis Beidler Forest. This old growth of cypress and tupelo is an important ecosystem, home to a vast array of animal and plant life. The permit applied for by Oakridge Landfill Inc. would allow them to potentially fill over 14 acres of freshwater wetlands in the region with a class three landfill. This type of landfill would be composed of municipal solid waste in addition to construction and demolition industrial waste.

To allow such a certification to be granted would result in the destruction of roughly 18 acres of forested wetland. Encapsulated within this acreage would be a network of first and second order streams that would be ruined, thus also impacting the larger primary streams into which they flow. In addition to the land directly destroyed, there is also the very significant threat present of runoff pollution making its way into watershed areas of the wetlands. The environmental ramifications of this runoff would be devastating to these extremely important wetlands as their largely intact condition thus far has resulted in their being recognized as a reference watershed. This means that they are recognized as the very model of what a blackwater swamp is and should be.

The permit must not be granted to Oakridge Landfill Inc. It is far too important to protect the entirety of the Francis Beidler Forest. I urge you to deny the 401 Water Quality Certification and protect the forest wetlands.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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