The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition has stood in opposition to the expansion of I-526 onto the Sea Islands of Charleston County, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation for close to a decade! We have successfully opposed this in a myriad of ways along with others that do all that we can to #Nix526! We are calling on you to send in letters from around the world to help us stop this destructionment project!Write in and tell them to choose “NO BUILD!” Protect the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s Sea Islands!
The terminus of the project would cut straight through the historic Cross-Cut community and be immediately across Ellis Creek from the Ferguson Village community which are two historic Gullah/Geechee communities. However, the SCDOT’s latest draft Supplemental Environmental Impact statement claims that the project does not impact Environmental Justice communities. It fails to even acknowledge these two specific communities that will be irreversible harmed and from which Gullah/Geechees will be displaced!
Our environmental partners at the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League make it clear that “Nor does it acknowledge the indirect impacts that the project will have on the Gullah/Geechee communities on the Sea Islands who will be subsequently displaced through gentrification that will follow similarly to when the first part of 526 was constructed. Even more upsetting is that the City of Charleston’s new Comprehensive Plan both acknowledges the significance of African American settlement communities within its jurisdiction and the threat to those communities, but it goes on to endorse the extension of 526 through those very communities in the very same plan! The contradictions and hypocrisy is infuriating and not lost on us here!”
The environmentally destructive 526-extension plan that Charleston County wants to push onto our beloved sea islands at a projected cost of close to $800 million includes a shocking 6.1 miles of bridges over our Stono River.
We have been consistently battling to protect the historic area near that river due to the Stono Rebellion and recently had a settlement in regard to Rantowles Creek, but witness a community opposed opposition to the annexation of Tea Farm into the Town of Ravenel, SC.
We see that there seems to be a continued focus of a flow of money taking place in Charleston County without any concern about the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s cultural heritage and sustainability.
The extension of I-526 will not only displace more Gullah/Geechees from the South Carolina coast, it will lower the quality of life for those on the Sea Islands! The harm to the water quality, seafood and other marine life will be devastating! In addition, this plan will destroy 30+ acres of James Island County Park, will fill in several acres of wetlands near the Riverland Dr./Maybank intersection on James Island, not to mention the destruction of 100s of acres of marsh, green space and trees in rural and suburban areas on Johns and James Islands. 17+ acres of Sea Island wetlands will be negatively impacted by this destructionment project.