News | September 15, 2009

Victory Brings Sigh of Relief to South Carolinians Facing Flood Risks

SELC and its allies have fought off a developer’s attempt to torpedo federal flood-risk maps to clear the way for a new “city within a city” in the Congaree River floodplain. The ill-conceived project, which required building miles of levees on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina, would have increased flood hazards in neighboring areas and put thousands of new homes and businesses in harm’s way.

For nearly a decade, SELC has defended maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Administration that restrict building in the flood-prone area targeted for development. On September 8, 2009, just as the case was about to go to trial, the developer agreed to drop a federal suit challenging the FEMA maps. “This is a huge victory for families and businesses put in jeopardy by this project,” said SELC senior attorney Blan Holman. “The FEMA maps show that this is no place to put a massive development. Moreover, the project’s levees would have pushed floodwaters into neighborhoods and commercial districts across the river. The people who live and work in that area can now breathe easier.”