York County tackles controversy with social media response about solar plant.

By Oliver Townsend May 23, 2024
York County responds to social media posts regarding controversial solar plant.pngOrginal image from: https://www.wrhi.com/2024/05/york-county-responds-to-social-media-posts-regarding-controversial-solar-plant-189105

York County recently found itself at the center of a social media storm regarding the controversial solar plant Silfab Solar. The situation escalated when Fort Mill residents raised concerns about the issuance of a permit to the company by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, despite a public denial by the County for a zoning designation. The residents were alarmed by the possibility of construction of a solar cell facility near their homes and schools.

York County’s Response to Social Media Backlash

York County swiftly addressed the public outcry by releasing a statement clarifying the nature of the permit issued to Silfab Solar. The permit in question was for storm water construction, specifically to modify the design of the parking lot and relocate utilities. The County emphasized that the permit did not authorize the construction of a solar cell facility and was unrelated to zoning regulations. This clarification aimed to alleviate fears of air pollution and chemical storage concerns raised by residents.

The Purpose of Stormwater Construction Permits

For further clarification, York County explained that stormwater construction permits are part of an EPA program delegated to the state and then to the county under the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program. These permits focus on ensuring technical sufficiency in land disturbance activities and sediment management. In the case of Silfab, the permit was necessary for adjustments to the parking lot and utilities, following the standard approval process.

Permit Approval Process

The County approved Silfab’s realignment plans, which were then forwarded to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for final authorization. The issuance of the permit by DHEC under the State General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities was based on the compliance of the plans with sediment management ordinances.

Importance of Clear Communication

Throughout the process, York County emphasized the separation between the stormwater construction permit and zoning regulations. By providing detailed explanations of the permit’s scope and purpose, the County aimed to address public concerns and dispel misinformation circulating on social media. The transparency in communication was crucial in maintaining trust and addressing community apprehensions.

Conclusion

York County’s handling of the situation surrounding the Silfab Solar permit highlights the significance of clear and transparent communication in addressing public concerns. By promptly clarifying the purpose of the permit and dispelling misconceptions, the County demonstrated its commitment to public welfare and regulatory compliance. Moving forward, continued engagement and open dialogue with the community will be essential in navigating similar controversies and ensuring accountability.

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