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Our Impact


CVSC 2020-2024 strategic plan prioritizes passage of clean energy, land protection, and water quality policies, conservation; building a conservation majority in the General Assembly; strengthening the conservation movement in South Carolina; and ensuring all of our efforts are rooted in racial justice and equity.

As we look to the future, we recognize we cannot rest. Passing conservation legislation and electing environmental champions has become a tougher fight than we ever anticipated. With the support of CVSC’s donors and advocates, we can build a future in which South Carolina is a nationwide model for rapid clean energy growth, massive investment in land protection, a commitment to environmental justice.

Together, we have made progress in these fights. Check out our highlights from the past few years below.

2023 Highlights

Read our full 2023 Impact Report here.

Last year marked the first half of the 2023-2024 legislative session. Historically, the first year of session presents a great opportunity to lay groundwork for our long-term conservation goals. 2023 was no different.

CVSC’s Government Relations team played a crucial role in securing new conservation funding, including $45 million for statewide land protection and $250,000 for a study to expand offshore wind energy manufacturing.

We also secured $300,000 to complete a feasibility assessment for creating a Rosenwald School State Park Network. We are now a member of the steering committee and will spend the next 18 months working with WeGOJA and other partners to envision the future of Rosenwald School protection in South Carolina.

Another major undertaking last year was improving the Department of Health and Environmental Control Reform Bill (S.399) before it passed, splitting DHEC into two separate agencies. While this bill isn’t ideal, we’re pleased that we were able to preserve a permitting process that defends our environment by upholding community members’ ability to get involved. In 2024, CVSC and our conservation allies will work with DHEC staff to ensure that the resulting Environmental Services agency is an agency that has the tools, resources, and resolve to faithfully protect the environment.

We’re also proud to have helped draft and introduce legislation that advances clean energy and protects our precious air, land, and water. We will continue to advocate for these bills at the Statehouse to ensure they cross the finish line in 2024.

  • The Energy Independence and Risk Reduction Act (S.779) – a major piece of clean energy and climate legislation that charts a clear and just pathway for utilities to reduce carbon emissions in a cost-effective way that does not increase the energy burden of low-wealth communities
  • The Energy Efficiency Bill (H.4282) – helps South Carolinians access more affordable and reliable energy by significantly increasing utility requirements for pursuing energy efficiency measures and directing state regulators to consider how South Carolina can reduce energy use and energy bills
  • The Alternative Fuels Tax Credit Bill (H.3824) – reduces carbon emissions and improves air quality by giving entities a 25% tax credit for the cost of leasing or purchasing electric vehicle charging equipment
  • The Trails Tax Credit Bill (H.3121) – creates another tool to incentivize land protection by providing an income tax credit to qualified property owners and adding a voluntary, perpetual trail easement to their property

2023 was not an election year, but that didn’t stop CVSC from getting involved in–and winning–a special election. Following the tragic passing of Sen. John Scott, CVSC wanted to ensure a strong conservation champion won election to District 19 to ensure that Columbia–and the rest of South Carolina–have a senator who will fight tirelessly to protect the environment.

As a former City of Columbia Councilwoman, Tameika Isaac Devine has proven her commitment to balancing neighborhood needs with the demands for growth, conserving land and protecting community resources, fighting for clean air and clean water, and supporting and embracing clean energy and access to electric vehicles. With your support, CVSC PAC implemented an outreach program, running impactful digital displays and sending over 8,900 pieces of mail and multiple rounds of targeted messaging to over 10,000 voters via call and text to encourage voting for Tameika.

CVSC proudly congratulates Tameika Isaac Devine on her victory in the special election for Senate District 19! We look forward to working with her now and in the future to advance conservation in the State Senate.

In 2023, we expanded our team to meet the challenges that await us in 2024. It’s the second half of the legislative session and an election year for the whole General Assembly, so we focused a lot of energy on building a team that is prepared to accomplish our bold goals and embark on even more ambitious projects moving forward.

Meet Austin Brown, our new Upstate Political Manager! He’s preparing to implement robust political campaigns to elect thoughtful and pragmatic leaders, specifically in the Upstate.

Meet Erin Siebert, our new Energy Policy Associate! She’s providing crucial support for our energy team as they fight for an equitable transition to clean energy, this legislative session and beyond.

2022 Highlights

Read our full 2022 Impact Report here.

  • Green Space Sales Tax
    • In an effort to increase local investment in conservation, CVSC and our partners helped to draft and pass a Green Space Sales Tax bill (S.152), allowing counties to put ballot referenda in front of voters to authorize up to a 1% sales tax to be used for land protection.
    • Governor McMaster signed the bill into law—and we saw immediate impact (see Referenda tab below).
  • Offshore Wind Industries
    • CVSC staff drafted the Offshore Wind Industries bill (H.4831), which directed the Department of Commerce to study how we could attract more offshore wind manufacturing to the state—creating green jobs and benefiting our economy.
    • Working with advocates and partners, we applied strategic pressure on lawmakers to ensure this bill passed and was signed by Governor McMaster.
  • Electronic Waste Recycling
    • CVSC was a leading voice in the initial fight to pass Electric Waste Recycling legislation a decade ago. In 2022, CVSC was approached by state agencies and stakeholders to engage heavily in discussions around its reauthorization (H.4775).
    • CVSC advocated successfully to ensure that the ban on putting computers and TVs into landfills remained in place and this bill (with the landfill ban) was signed into law in late 2022.
  • Pyrolysis
    • Pyrolysis is an industry that claims it can “recycle” plastic into other substances like wax and diesel fuel at no cost to the environment. Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is. Just as an Advanced Recycling bill (S.525) seeking to exempt pyrolysis from the state’s solid waste rules was being discussed, pyrolysis plants were catching fire and violating environmental rules across the country.
    • Our efforts mark the first time that the South Carolina legislature has provided DHEC the ability to review the compliance history of an applicant when granting permits and the first time any state legislature in the country has required bonding for financial assurances for the pyrolysis industry.
  • Budget
    • With an unprecedented amount of money to allocate, the budget became a core focus of CVSC’s land and water protection efforts in 2022.
    • Thanks to the work of the CVSC team and the coordinated efforts of our conservation community, a remarkable $68 million was secured for the
      Department of Natural Resources and the South Carolina Conservation Bank to protect and conserve more green space across the state.

Read the full 2022 Impact Report 

With nearly $200 million on the Midterm ballot for land protection last year, we knew that voters across the state and on both sides of the political aisle cared about conservation–and we knew it was up to CVSC to make sure voters took action at the ballot box.

CVSC and our conservation allies launched robust campaigns to advocate for these referenda, making over 1.5 million voter contacts and investing over $200,000 to protect the land and water we love in South Carolina.

Our hard work and strategy paid off! Voters approved all 3 referenda that will generate nearly $200 million for land protection in rapidly growing counties. When leveraged with state and federal funds, these dollars will go a long way to protect the South Carolina we love.

  • Beaufort County
    • Beaufort County became the first county to implement the Green Space Sales Tax and will raise $100 million for the protection of local water, open land, and green space over the next two years. Beaufort County serves as a shining example of the kind of land investments that are made possible by the Green Space Sales Tax and will hopefully inspire other counties to follow suit.
  • Berkeley County
    • Berkeley County voters renewed a penny sales tax that continues funding for transportation improvements and implements a new conservation provision to dedicate 10% of the revenue—up to $60 million—to greenbelt projects that protect the lands and waterways that make Berkeley County such a special place. This was a resounding victory, with 73% of Berkeley County voters voting in favor of the referendum.
  • Dorchester County
    • In Dorchester County, CVSC worked with partners to design and manage a campaign to educate voters about the 1% sales tax referendum for transportation and green space projects. Dorchester County voters approved the referendum with a vote of 58.9% in favor—meaning $35 million for land protection efforts in the area!

Read the full 2022 Impact Report 

With an unprecedented amount of money to allocate, the budget became a core focus of CVSC’s land and water protection efforts in 2022. Our staff focused heavily on securing funding for clean drinking water – specifically PFAS contamination remediation.

We worked closely with House budget writers to establish a PFOS, PFOA, and Emerging Pollutants Remediation Fund and appropriate $10 million dollars for this new funding mechanism. We also built into the fund a requirement that 60% or more of these funds must go to rural communities, ensuring that these funds go to communities often overlooked by these types of infrastructure grants.

  • Primary Elections 
    • CVSC and CVSC-PAC invested heavily in the June primaries, where we focused on electing pragmatic leaders in open seats who will work across the aisle to protect our state. We also fought to defend key conservation champions of both parties. Our targeted mail, door-to-door activities, and direct contributions were successful, with a 91.7% success rate in the primaries. CVSC targeted mail, door-to-door activities, and direct contributions were successful, with a 91.7% success rate in the primaries.
  • Changing Dynamics in the House
    • 38 of our 43 endorsed candidates were elected to the South Carolina State House, an overall success rate of 88.4%.

Read the full 2022 Impact Report

2020 & 2021 Highlights

Passed land protection legislation that puts additional tools in the conservation ‘toolbox’, including passage of the federal Great American Outdoors Act that permanently funds the Land & Water Conservation Fund as well as passage of a bill that allows Counties to impelment a Green Space Sales Tax.

Successfully advocating for policies that ensure efforts to reform the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, include provisions to evaluate a carbon neutral generation mix by 2050, close coal plants, and pursue a just transition with coal plant closures.

Engaged thousands of conservation voters in regulatory dockets at the Public Service Commission, supporting Commission decisions to close coal plants and transition to a clean energy future.

Created an innovative Emerging Contaminants Remediation Fund at the state level and seeded the fund with $10m to remove toxic PFAS chemicals from drinking water systems.

Protect the South Carolina you love.

Together we can build a safer, healthier, and more prosperous Palmetto State.

2020 & 2021 Highlights

Land Protection

Passed land protection legislation that puts additional tools in the conservation ‘toolbox’, including passage of the federal Great American Outdoors Act that permanently funds the Land & Water Conservation Fund as well as passage of a bill that allows Counties to impelment a Green Space Sales Tax.

Clean Energy

Successfully advocating for policies that ensure efforts to reform the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, include provisions to evaluate a carbon neutral generation mix by 2050, close coal plants, and pursue a just transition with coal plant closures.

Energy Accountability

Engaged thousands of conservation voters in regulatory dockets at the Public Service Commission, supporting Commission decisions to close coal plants and transition to a clean energy future.

Clean Drinking Water

Created an innovative Emerging Contaminants Remediation Fund at the state level and seeded the fund with $10m to remove toxic PFAS chemicals from drinking water systems.

Protect the South Carolina you love.

Together we can build a safer, healthier, and more prosperous Palmetto State.