How a diverse band of locals won Beaufort County’s biggest environmental battle

“It’s Official! Plans Announced,” screamed a banner headline in The Beaufort Gazette of Oct. 2, 1969. BASF, the international chemical giant based in Germany, announced it was going to build a $100 million petrochemical plant on Victoria Bluff near Bluffton. It would expand to an industrial complex with an investment as high as $400 million, the biggest manufacturing fish ever landed by the state of South Carolina, even for that era of New South boosterism. The political hierarchy of Beaufort County and Columbia was euphoric. It would cure the abject poverty in the county — where it was reported that children had worms, and adults were malnourished and illiterate.,,  The Capt. Dave shrimp trawler remains the lasting image of the fight. She chugged into Beaufort County history with a 777-mile, week-long trip from Hilton Head to Washington, D.C., in April 1970. The 43-foot boat was a symbol of a small band taking on an opponent the size of an aircraft carrier. It was a symbol of Lowcountry life and clean water. Its mission was to deliver petitions against the plant to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Walter J. “Wally” Hickel. Read the story here. 09:08