Introduced by Representatives Hixon and other members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, this bill sought to exempt pyrolysis facilities from existing Solid Waste Management laws.
Pyrolysis is the melting and gasification of plastics into other petroleum products, like jet fuel. While this process is already permitted in South Carolina under existing law, the bill sought to exempt these facilities from Solid Waste oversight.
The conservation community opposed the bill because of the lack of appropriate oversight of an unproven process, the lack of financial assurances to protect taxpayers if a facility contaminated the state or went bankrupt, and the potential to increase the import of out of state waste to satisfy the processing needs of the facilities. This bill had potentially significant and far-reaching impacts, but was complicated by plastic industry talking points that claimed that the process was “environmentally friendly” because it would keep plastic out of landfills.
This bill passed out of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee in the House. There were significant concerns expressed on the House floor, with Representatives Will Wheeler and Mandy Powers Norrell leading efforts to amend and improve the bill. Despite their work, the bill passed out of the House 63-27.
The bill was then sent to the Senate. The bill received a hearing in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, but did not progress to the Senate floor because of Senators’ concerns over the premise of a blanket exemption of oversight for an industry already allowed under state law.
- This is an Anti-Conservation Vote.