One thing’s getting deeper for sure — the rift between Nikki Haley and legislative leaders

With regard to this:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley today has vetoed a measure aimed at retroactively stripping the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control of the authority to approve a permit needed by Georgia to dredge the Savannah River.

The controversial permit is needed for the Port of Savannah’s plan to deepen the river to accommodate larger container ships. Opponents — the state House and Senate unanimously approved the measure Haley vetoed — say the DHEC water quality permit approval is bad for the environment and the competitiveness of South Carolina ports.

Haley called the joint resolution “an unconstitutional legislative overreaching into an agency’s ruling,” a ruling that “was based on law and scientific benchmarks.” She also said the resolution was legally flawed…

I received the following this morning:

Columbia, SC – February 27, 2012 – Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell today issued the following statement on Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of H4627, a joint resolution that reverses DHEC’s disastrous decision on Savannah River port permitting:

“I am disappointed that Governor Haley is choosing to hide behind a flawed separation of powers argument in defending her agency appointees’ disastrous decision to sell out the interests of South Carolina to Georgia,” McConnell said.

“This isn’t about a conflict between the executive and legislative branches – it’s about what’s right for South Carolina. It is not only within the legislature’s purview to act to protect the environmental and economic future of South Carolina, but also its duty to serve as a check on renegade state agencies that act beyond their power and against the interest of South Carolina. This resolution passed the House and Senate unanimously, and I have no doubt it will be overridden quickly and with similar voting margins.”


There’s seldom any love lost between Glenn McConnell and any governor, but this ports thing is driving the wedge ever deeper. And when you set the powers and prerogatives of the executive against those of the legislative, in Glenn’s book, you’ve gone to messin’.

16 thoughts on “One thing’s getting deeper for sure — the rift between Nikki Haley and legislative leaders

  1. Brad

    And here’s what Larry Grooms had to say:

    Statement by Senator Larry Grooms regarding Governor Haley’s veto of H.4627:

    “Here we go again. Now it’s as if the Governor has adopted Georgia’s legal strategy to defend her actions. She doesn’t seem to understand that a 401 Water Quality Permit and a Navigable Waters Permit are two separate legal requirements with two separate legal analyses. The Governor just can’t get Georgia off her mind.”

    Background: H.4627 is legislation affirming the Savannah River Maritime Commission’s authority to represent South Carolina in all matters pertaining to the navigability, depth, dredging, wastewater and sludge disposal, and related collateral issues in regard to the use of the Savannah River as a waterway for ocean-going container or commerce vessels. The General Assembly earlier this month suspended the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s authority relating to these issues, in particular the approval by the department of the application of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a Construction in Navigable Waters Permit for the dredging of the South Carolina portion of the Savannah River, because the authority of the Savannah River Maritime Commission superseded the responsibilities of the department for such approval, and the approval by the department could present imminent and irreversible public health and environmental concerns for the South Carolina portion of the Savannah River.

    (Senator Grooms is Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and a member of the Savannah River Maritime Commission.)


  2. bud

    This bill passed unanamously in BOTH houses? Is that correct? That’s simply shocking. If true Haley doesn’t have any support in the General Assembly.

  3. Brad

    Meanwhile, from the other side of the aisle (it’s remarkable how much our last two governors have done to bring Democrats and Republicans together; you have to give them that):

    Representative Leon Stavrinakis Reacts to Haley Veto of DHEC Port Permit Reversal

    “Governor Haley is out of touch with South Carolina businesses, out of touch with South Carolina workers, and apparently dead set on ruining our natural resources to make sure her plan to grow jobs in the State of Georgia moves forward.” said Rep. Stavrinakis. “Of course, I will vote to override this veto. Beyond that, I will fight this Governor and her political cronies tooth and nail to make sure their dream of a Savannah Port which trumps the Port of Charleston never becomes a reality.” added Stavrinakis.

    H.4627 was co-sponsored by State Representatives Leon Stavrinakis (Charleston), Jim Merrill (Charleston) and Jim Harrison (Columbia), and proposes to shut down the illegal DHEC permit in question and restore usurped authority to the Maritime Commission as well as the SC General Assembly.

    Representative Leon Stavrinakis represents District 119 in Charleston County. The district includes portions of the City of Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Johns Island and all of Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island.


  4. `Kathryn Fenner

    Sometimes it seems that “separation of powers” is the argument of last resort. It also seems to me she may have a point. I’m hardly the first to say that the last two governors have not done much to enhance the case for more power to the governor and executive branch.

  5. Mark Stewart

    If the Governor makes the claim that the number one issue for her is jobs in this state, then the number one priority ought to be to provide executive leadership to address the operational deficiencies at the Port of Charleston and within the inter-modal transport system across the state. In the scheme of things these are minor and resolvable – not like Savannah being located 30 miles up a shallow river.

    There is no other issue which so completely aligns every region of the state. It is a bit amazing that Haley appears not to understand the economic reality of this.

  6. bud

    I agree with Kathryn that the Governor just might have a point about separation of powers. But goodness knows how does this train wreck of an issue bode for any consideration that the governor should have MORE power. Maybe we should just get rid of the office of governor all together.

  7. Brad

    Yes, she might (have a point). I have yet to fully make up my mind what I think on this issue.

    But the Legislature hasn’t.

    And I find myself in an awkward spot, as I was on the Amazon thing. On Amazon, on principle, I didn’t want the state to cave. But as a matter of wise policy, in terms of what is good for the state of South Carolina and its people, I was happy that it came out the way it did. And it came out the way it did because of a bunch of lawmakers being focused on JOBS for South Carolinians rather than the abstractions of what we might consider good tax policy.

    Here also, it would appear that the practical effect of what the DHEC board did was not in the economic interests of South Carolina. But I can also see the governor’s point of view, to some extent.

    I guess I need to find time to dig into this further and make up my mind…

  8. Mark Stewart

    It does add a wrinkle when the Governor (and the DHEC Board for its rubber-stamp) does something that goes against the best interests of every citizen of the state.

  9. `Kathryn Fenner

    She’s not irrelevant–she’s worse than useless. She wastes a lot of time and resources on losing causes, instead of possibly doing something effective. Oh wait–you say that’s her plan?

  10. Joanne

    And then she “implores” the President for help from the Corps of Engineers…after she’s behaved so crassly toward him and toward our own state?


  11. Steven Davis II

    Kathryn – The same thing can be said about the Levintis. In the end only two others voted with him. Just another long winded blowhard who talked and talked and talked and nobody listened to him. BTW I agree with his comments.

  12. Juan Caruso

    “One thing’s getting deeper for sure — the rift between Nikki Haley and legislative leaders”

    Which, Brad, is precisely what many of those of us who elected Haley were hoping. Please, don’t feign surprise!

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