We’re looking forward to another productive year at the State House. January 10th is the first day of session. Legislators voted to end session a month earlier from now on, so we have until May 11, 2017 to support conservation-friendly legislation and stop bad legislation. I’ll be reaching out through this blog, email, and social media as we need you to take action during the legislative session.
Don’t forget — we’ll be tracking the votes and bill sponsorships. At the end of the two year session in 2018, we’ll update our Conservation Scorecard.
Working with our partners in the Conservation Coalition, CVSC will be focusing on some of the following priorities this year:
Reauthorization of the Conservation Bank
The Conservation Bank was created 14 years ago to safeguard our drinking water, preserve our history and culture, and protect our precious natural resources. It’s the only statewide source of public funding available for willing landowners and their land trust partners to voluntarily conserve important SC lands, and it will shut down if not reauthorized by June of 2018. The Conservation Coalition supports legislation to reauthorize the Bank in 2017.
Dam Safety Reform
In October of 2015, rain pummeled South Carolina and over 51 dams across the state burst under the pressure of swollen rivers and creeks. Then, a year later, Hurricane Matthew gave our dams and infrastructure another beating, bringing the total to 70 failed dams. Homes were destroyed. Infrastructure was damaged. Lives were lost.
We must protect citizens from failing dams. We support DHEC’s efforts to update our outdated dam safety law and support the agency’s funding request to support the program.
Moving forward, we hope that South Carolina can better prepare, secure, and restore our infrastructure to weather the worst storms and protect the South Carolina we love.
Solar Market Growth
Landmark clean energy legislation passed in 2014 (Act 236) and has made South Carolina one of the fastest growing solar markets in the nation. Utilities now have additional flexibility to add renewable resources to their generation mixes, and citizens and businesses have enhanced access to rooftop solar technologies that can drastically reduce monthly energy bills while helping to protect the natural resources of South Carolina.
In order to maintain expansion of renewables in South Carolina, the Conservation Coalition supports adoption of clear guidance for reasonable property tax treatment of renewable energy equipment installed in our state.
Will you join us at the State House this year?
If you haven’t visited us at the State House before, or if you’re a long-term legislative advocate, I hope to see you at one of our 2017 Legislative Events:
January 17, 2017: CVSC’s Annual Legislative Kick-off Party from 5:30-8pm at the Vista Room behind Blue Marlin (please send me your RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 18, 2017: the SC Conservation Coalition’s Senate “Conversations with Conservationists” Briefing hosted by Senators Courson and McElveen at 10 am in 105 Gressette on the State House Grounds
March 21, 2017: the annual SC Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast