Another shot fired in ‘Green Diamond’ wars

You may have seen today’s column from Warren that he wrote after he was taken up in the spaceship. Then there was the Avery Wilkerson piece, which would have read a whole lot better without all that "that side of the river versus our side of the river" garbage, which as we know does no end of hurt to our community. (I wonder when folks on my side of the river — which would be the Lexington County side — are going to outgrow that? Soon, I hope.)

Anyway, here’s the latest shot, from the "anti-" side:

Environmental leaders speak out against Cayce’s proposed annexation of Green Diamond property

(Cayce) – Environmental leaders representing local, statewide and national environmental groups spoke out today in opposition to the Cayce City Council’s plans to annex the controversial Green Diamond floodplain development in Lower Richland County.
    Representatives of the following organizations along with concerned citizens and Cayce residents participated in the news conference:
●         Audubon Society of South Carolina
●         Congaree Task Force
●         Friends of Congaree Swamp
●         Republicans for Environmental Protection (South Carolina)
●         South Carolina Wildlife Federation
●         Sierra Club of South Carolina
●         Southern Environmental Law Center

    At a news conference at Cayce City Hall, Robert Adams spoke for the group and issued the following statement:


Statement by Robert Adams, Congaree Task Force
     After more than seven years of heated debate on this controversial issue, I find it hard to believe that we are again faced with yet another last gasp effort to resuscitate the controversial Green Diamond development in Lower Richland County.  That the City of Cayce would even consider getting into the levee business with the tremendous liability for Cayce taxpayers that goes hand in hand with all things Green Diamond is even harder to comprehend with any degree of logic. 
     The Green Diamond development, by any name, is what it is – a floodplain development with tremendous potential financial liability for any governmental entity that gets led down the garden path by Columbia Venture.  Changing the name from Green Diamond to Vista Farms is like putting lipstick on a pig.  A pig with lipstick is still a pig.  Vista Farms is still Green Diamond.
     Since Burroughs & Chapin launched this ill-conceived floodplain development seven years ago, it has fallen victim repeatedly to the weight of the myriad of problems that go hand in hand with building on flood-prone land.
     This levee project will threaten Congaree National Park, a national jewel in our back yard.  Who is Columbia Venture to think they can make this decision?  Do Mayor Avery Wilkerson and Cayce City Council think it is within their authority to threaten a unique environmental tract that has been a part of our community’s landscape and culture for hundreds of years? 
     Having witnessed the devastating effects of flood damage in places like New Orleans, St. Louis and Houston to name a few, FEMA has been taking steps aggressively for over a decade to discourage and prohibit floodplain development nationally.   
     It is truly unbelievable that the City of Cayce would consider getting into the levee business and all of the liability that levees entail in the post-Katrina era – especially considering that well over 1,000 deaths occurred in New Orleans alone due to levee failure in that recent disaster.
     Here in the Midlands, after careful consideration, Richland County and the City of Columbia wisely decided not to sanction the Green Diamond development.
     Mayor Wilkerson and Cayce City Council should take heed of all of these glaring warning signs about the danger of proceeding with the annexation of the Green Diamond property — and the levees which will surely follow in short order.
     Green Diamond’s developers are licking their chops in anticipation of Cayce’s looming annexation plans for their low-lying property.  As soon as the ink dries on Cayce’ annexation papers, they will begin levee construction, dooming Cayce taxpayers to pay through the nose one day for the floods and levee failure which will ultimately come.
     They don’t call them 100-year floods for nothing.  These floods happen on average once every 100 years.  But, 100-year floods have occurred more frequently than that in this area before.  In fact, the Green Diamond property reached 100-year flood levels in 1928 and again in 1929.  That’s right, 100-year floods two years in a row.  It could happen again.
     We strongly encourage Mayor Wilkerson and Cayce City Council to halt their annexation plans into Lower Richland County and reject the Green Diamond project.  Failure to do so will  place huge liability on present and future Cayce taxpayers – a veritable albatross around the neck of this small town in perpetuity.