Feds OK plan to leave slick of polluted coal tar in SC river

Feds OK plan to leave slick of polluted coal tar in SC river

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - Federal authorities have approved a plan to allow S.C. Electric and Gas to leave a slick of polluted coal tar in the Congaree River rather than cleaning it up.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit Wednesday allowing the power company to cover the toxin-tainted coal tar with stones or other material to hold it in place.

Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler says his group is considering legal challenges to the Corps' decision. State regulators say the coal tar hasn't hurt water quality, although testing has been limited. Stangler's full statement released on Friday reads:

"This will not protect the Congaree River or the people who use it, and it is a far cry from SCE&G's promise to do right by the river. We believe SCE&G can do better, and should do better. No one from SCE&G has ever explained to us why they have backed away from their assurances of a full cleanup."

The Corps approved the plan Wednesday and made it public Friday.

SCE&G also released a statement on Monday, saying:

We've worked for about six years to find the best solution to address the material in the Congaree River. [The] Cost has never been a deciding factor, despite what other reports may have suggested.

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