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A busy week for conservation

Whew. We’re done with Week 3 at the State House and boy did we make the most of it. Here are some of the highlights:

1. It’s all about the money. Legislators are hearing budget requests from agencies and deciding how to best allocate state dollars. DHEC presented their budget request to the House Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee this week. With the help of our partners at the Sierra Club and the leadership of subcommittee Chairman Rep. Murrell Smith, we had a great discussion on the economic and environmental impact of the Pinewood toxic waste dump. We are hopeful that DHEC will get their full request of $3.9 million in recurring funds, if not more. We look forward to a continued discussion on how DHEC can best protecct the citizens of South Carolina.

2. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee successfully passed H.3035, the Take Palmetto Pride Where You Live Act. This law will establish a commission between several state agencies already working on litter reduction to create a strategic plan and improve communications. Introduced by Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and Deborah Long, the bill has gathered 22 bi-partisan sponsors in the House as it heads to the floor for a vote. We are pleased to see House members gather to support such a worthwhile effort. Please thank your Representative for their support.

3. This Year brings another attempt to support the recommendations of the DHEC Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management (BRC) in H.3378, introduced by Rep. Herbkersman. We hope this will lead to improved protections for our beaches. We also support S.139, introduced by Sen. Cleary, as drafted, but will fight attempts to ignore BRC recommendations and delay setting of the baseline soley at the request of special interest out-of-state developers, like Kiawah Partners.

4. Our grassroots campaign with the SC Rivers Forever coalition is gaining steam. We hope you’ll join our efforts: www.scriversforever.org 

It’s a busy time of Year and I look forward to working with all of you. Please follow the priority issues and legislation supported by the South Carolina Conservation Coalition.

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