|We have a packed week ahead of us. From continued, intense deliberations that address the issue of Santee Cooper to efforts that unveil the legislative priorities and goals of the South Carolina Conservation Coalition, our plate is full. Tomorrow, January 27th at 10 am, join us for our annual SC Conservation Coalition’s legislative preview – Conversations with Conservationists: A Senate Briefing. You will be able to hear more about our legislative priorities from members of the coalition and from conservation advocates who are deeply anchored in the community. Hosted by Senators Chip Campsen and Thomas McElveen, the legislative briefing will be live streamed on Zoom at this link. Tune in and join us. What can you expect to hear? (NOTE that the Statehouse live stream is having technical issues. Please use the Zoom link above to join).
Securing a Clean Energy Future for South Carolina: After the successful passage of the Energy Freedom Act, the SC Conservation Coalition continues to be committed to the evolving growth of renewable energy markets in South Carolina. Xavier Boatright, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Organizing Representative, will outline the coalition’s support of a just transition to a clean energy future that includes the closure of existing coal plants, greater competition and consumer protections, and investments in renewable energy.
Doubling Protected Lands in South Carolina: Due to rapid land development, South Carolina has experienced a great deal of loss of forestlands, farmlands, wildlife habitats, biodiversity, cultural and historical sites, beaches, and public areas for outdoor recreation. Julia Dietz, Policy Director with Audubon SC, will summarize the coalition’s goals: safeguard water quality, mitigate flooding, protect rural communities and economies, protect culturally significant areas like Gullah Geechee sites and heirs’ property, and provide opportunities for citizens and visitors to access open spaces and waterways for uses like subsistence fishing.
Introduced by Senators McElveen and Shealy, S.220 will help us reach these goals.
Protect Home Rule and Prevent Plastic Pollution: Over the last several years, South Carolina’s businesses, citizens, and elected officials have worked together to address local plastic pollution. Nonetheless, the plastics industry continues to grow in South Carolina – encouraging the growing appeal to convert plastics to new, raw materials. Andrew Wunderley, the Charleston Waterkeeper, will report on the coalition’s support of the right of local governments to continue protecting their communities through home rule and will outline the coalition’s stance on the plastics industry’s expansion in SC. The coalition believes that we should strengthen, not hinder, state oversight of the plastics industry and therefore opposes S.162 which seeks to exempt facilities that melt plastics from state solid waste rules.
Everyone Deserves Clean Drinking Water: Clean drinking water is a fundamental right for all South Carolinians. PFAS are a group of highly toxic, man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used for decades in waterproof, stain resistant, and non-stick products, as well as firefighting foam across the country – poisoning our drinking water and harming children and their families. Educator and community advocate, Leitia Dowling, will highlight the importance of establishing maximum contaminant levels for these dangerous chemicals that continues to pollute our water.
The coalition supports H.3514 (Representative JA Moore) and S.219 (Senators McElveen and Shealy) – directing the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to exercise its regulatory authority to establish maximum contaminant levels for PFAS.
With our partners and state leaders, over the last several months, we have been earnestly working to protect what we most love and enjoy about our beautiful state. We will keep you updated on the coalition’s progress. Stay tuned on how you can get involved, and we hope that you can join us on Wednesday!
As always, thank you for all that you do!