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Mary D. Shahid



Mary Shahid served for a decade in the General Counsel’s office of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, as Chief Counsel of the coastal permitting office.  There she advised multiple permitting programs including the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, the Bureau of Water, the Mining Division, and the Solid Waste Management Division.  Since leaving DHEC in 2002 she has represented land-owners, utilities, real estate developers, industry, and local governments in permitting and compliance issues arising from regulation by DHEC, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and zoning and land use authorities. 

Mary has an extensive administrative and regulatory practice.  She frequently brings or defends challenges to permitting decisions in the S. C. Administrative Law Court.  She has handled numerous appeals of administrative decisions before the state’s appellate courts.

  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1984
  • Vanderbilt University, 1981
Bar Admissions
  • South Carolina
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Federal Courts
Civic & Professional Memberships
  • SC Bar, Environmental and Regulatory Committee
  • SC Women’s Law Association
  • SC Administrative and Regulatory Law Association
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental and Water Law, Since 2009
  • Listed in Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Charleston, S.C. for Environmental Law in 2012, 2014, and 2016 and Litigation- Environmental in 2013, 2015, and 2020
  • Recognized by Chambers USA, Environmental Law, South Carolina 2015-2020
  • In Patricia Tenney v. SCDHEC and the State of South Carolina, Mary secured a significant victory for coastal land owners and title companies.  The State of South Carolina, through the S. C. Attorney General’s office, had asserted an ownership interest in all coastal islands, amounting to a cloud on title and diminishing the value and utility of unique coastal property.  Mary persuaded the S. C. Supreme Court to clarify earlier precedent to prevent the State from asserting any title interest in coastal islands. 
  • In Bert and Stacey  Weiss v. SCDHEC, Mary successfully overturned DHEC’s long-standing practice of unlawfully asserting permitting jurisdiction over active beach areas on Folly Beach.  Her efforts before the DHEC Board resulted in affirmation of an important exemption to the Beachfront Management Act known as the Folly Beach exception.
  • In Deerfield Plantation Phase II B v. Deertrack Golf Inc. and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Mary assisted attorneys for the Corps of Engineers in defending the Corps’ limited assertion of jurisdiction over drainage features located on Mary’s client’s property.  Plaintiffs sought to have all water features on the property declared as waters and wetlands of the United States, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was persuaded that the extent of the Corps’ permitting jurisdiction on Mary’s client’s property was limited. 
  • In The S. C. Coastal Conservation League v. AOV-AOD, LLC, and SCDHEC Mary successfully defended against a challenge to permits and certifications issued by DHEC to the developers of Angel Oak Village, a controversial development on Johns Island, S. C. located near the Angel Oak tree. 
  • Mary was a presenter at the EarthxLaw Symposium 2019 on the "Coastal Issues - 'Surf's Up', Flooding, Building & Rebuilding, Disaster Response" panel.
  • Mary authored an article that was published in the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Journal titled The Regulation of Coastal Properties in the Era of King Tides in August of 2018. 
  • Mary was a panellist in the 25 year anniversary of the Lucas v. S.C. Coastal Council case on November 2-4, 2017. 
  • Mary co-authored the cover story for September 2013 edition of South Carolina Lawyer magazine - “Climate Change, Beach Erosion and Beachfront Regulation."
  • Mary has been published on the topic of wetland regulation in S.C., most recently in the Southeastern Environmental Law Journal – The Specter of Spectre: Impacts of the Coastal Management Plan and the APA. 
  • She has served as faculty on multiple continuing legal education seminars, speaking frequently on wetland and stormwater regulation.
  • Mary is speaking on March 25, 2014 at Lorman Education Services program "Current Issues in Storm Water Regulation in South Carolina" in North Charleston.

Mary is a member of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Her hobbies include running, group exercise and the South Carolina Gamecocks.