State issues permit for SC terminal

State environmental regulators have issued a permit for a $35 million cruise passenger terminal in Charleston.

The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management issued the permit Tuesday allowing the state Ports Authority to drive pilings beneath an old riverfront warehouse for the new terminal.

The permit was the focus of two public hearings this year that drew hundreds of people.

DHEC director Catherine Templeton tells The Associated Press the permit incorporates an agreement between the Ports Authority and Charleston limiting the number of cruise stops to 104 a year.

The dispute over the cruise industry has sparked lawsuits in both state and federal court. Opponents of the industry have criticized the cruise limitation agreement saying it is only voluntary and has no teeth.