Letters to the Editor

Want to stop deaths? Reduce speed limits on Hilton Head

84% of drivers speed on US 278 on Hilton Head. Should the speed limit be lowered?

A December 2018 study on Hilton Head found that 84 percent of drivers speed on U.S. 278. Here are the rest of the results to that study.
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A December 2018 study on Hilton Head found that 84 percent of drivers speed on U.S. 278. Here are the rest of the results to that study.

The Island Packet published an editorial cartoon recently entitled “US pedestrian deaths highest in 30 years ...” I am hardly ever offended by a cartoon, but this time I was. Pedestrian deaths are no laughing matter.

This cartoon appeared a few days after the Town Council’s Intergovernmental and Public Safety Committee heard SCDOT report from a “speed study” along U.S. 278 that 84% of motorists were speeding. Within the zone that includes the Shelter Cove area, 95% were speeding.

SCDOT used a measure of what “most prudent drivers find to be an appropriate and comfortable speed.” Therefore, 55 mph was an “appropriate and comfortable speed” in the mid-island corridor and the speed limit on U.S. 278 should remain at 45 mph.

There was not one mention of pedestrians or bicyclists in the SCDOT written or oral report. The American Automobile Association reports that only one of 10 pedestrians survive being hit by an automobile at 40 mph. Now, who is comfortable?

The National Highway Safety Administration includes reducing speed in “How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.” In its guide to state offices of countermeasures to improve pedestrian safety, reducing and enforcing speed limits are recommended.

Causes of motor vehicle accidents other than speeding were discussed at the meeting. No matter the cause, however, higher vehicle speeds increase the chances of death or serious injury to pedestrians and drivers.

Too many people are going too fast. Act now and insist that the speed limits on the island be reduced.

Patsy Brison

Hilton Head Island

State, county, cities should stop oil drillers on land

There may be a simple solution to avoid the oil and gas industry polluting and destroying our environment, tourism, and unique lifestyle in the Lowcountry.

Rather than only fighting the federal government, add another dimension to our protection.

State laws extend three nautical miles out from shore. The city and county have jurisdiction over the shoreline and what is permitted to be built on it. Why not have the state pass laws that effectively prohibit the activities associated with seismic exploration and drilling that will kill our ocean creatures and harm the fishing community?

Infrastructure for drilling could be prohibited in state waters and in the marshes. Onshore pipelines, fueling facilities, chemical depots, etc., are destructive to our pristine air and water and could be outlawed by new state laws or regulations. The county and cities also can pass ordinances and zoning to keep us safe from short-term exploitation and long-term destruction by the soulless corporations and their lackeys who promote “oil and gas jobs” while ignoring the greater lost tourism and fishing jobs, not to mention our way of life.

So please, local leaders, show the administration and polluting industries that everything is not for sale in S.C.

Jerry Floyd

St. Helena Island

Trump’s stand on border emergency is constitutional

Two recent contributors, differing with the president’s decision that an emergency exists at the southern border, incorrectly conclude that this constitutes an unconstitutional abuse of power. This leap betrays ignorance of the constitutional and statutory underpinnings of the controversy.

Reasonable minds can differ on whether an emergency exists, or the value of barriers, but the legal outline is straightforward. Congress delegated to the executive the authority to define “emergency” and to address it. The statute permits Congress to overrule the executive, a process subject to veto and override. Congress did not define “emergency,” leaving that to executive discretion.

Understanding this is not extraordinarily difficult. Trump usurped no Congressional authority; he acted in accord with congressional delegation.

Since Congress failed to define the parameters of its delegation, leaving it to the president, and, assuming Congress cannot reverse, Supreme Court substitution of its judgment would be an improper invasion of executive and congressional authority.

The true constitutional issue is the underlying delegation of power here and in many instances since the advent of the progressive movement in the early 20th century. Congress has been shirking its responsibility, passing increased authority to the executive (and judiciary) and therein lies the constitutional problem.

Presumably the contributors felt the same about the previous administration’s extra-legal actions that were devoid of statutory underpinnings as here. Alternatively, their umbrage over perceived constitutional improprieties may be driven simply by a lack of knowledge, leavened by Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Francis H. Dunne Sr.

Hilton Head Island

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