I can’t believe it, but the 7th week of session is over…
… And the talk of the Statehouse last week was of the looming crossover date. That’s the date by which a bill must have passed out of the chamber where it originated in order to have a chance of passing into law this year.
While the crossover date is still a little over a month away, it’s closing in fast. For the good bills, like energy reform, we have an important deadline to work towards. For the bad bills we’re trying to stop, time is on our side.
That means YOU can still make a difference at the Statehouse. Here’s one way…
It’s a jam-packed day where you can engage in advocacy training, lobby your elected officials, and enjoy an oyster roast with legislators and fellow conservationists. Reserve your spot today!
And now, here’s what went down last week…
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST WEEK
• Native Plant Week – Congrats to our friends at Audubon SC who shepherded H.4005 through the House and Senate. It’s now headed to the governor’s desk after passing the Senate last week. The bill will make the third week in October “South Carolina Native Plant Week.”
• Energy Reform – A resolution and a bill were heard by a House Judiciary Subcommittee this week: S.954 and H.4421. H.4425 was scheduled for the same subcommittee, but they ran out of time to take up this important bill that will help ratepayers reduce their power bills by investing in cost-effective energy efficiency efforts. Please encourage your Representative to support H.4425.
S.954 will prevent the PSC from ruling on any cases related to the VC Summer project until November 1 and requires a ruling before December 21. The Subcommittee discussed their desire to reduce the nuclear project surcharge that ratepayers are still paying and will continue their review of the resolution on Tuesday in House Judiciary.
H.4421 will eliminate net metering caps on residential solar use, make a number of other solar improvements, and ultimately allow the residential solar market to continue to thrive. The Subcommittee started debate on the bill this week, but have asked for more feedback from stakeholders before they continue. We’re grateful for the work of the subcommittee. As Rep. James. Smith said, “We can sit around and do nothing, or we can move the state forward on clean energy.” If you haven’t talked to your Representative yet about H.4421, please encourage them to support this bill.
• Conservation Bank Reauthorization – We continue to monitor the movement of H.4727 that will reauthorize the Conservation Bank. After passing the House, this is scheduled for a subcommittee hearing in the Senate Thursday morning. Be prepared to take action soon.
Marvin Davant, the retiring head of the Conservation Bank, was honored Thursday for his 51 years of service in state government. The resolution honoring him stated that during his time as director, he “helped protect over two hundred eighty-seven thousand acres statewide, improving the quality of life in South Carolina through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archaeological sites, and urban parks.”
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Automatic Stay – The argument over when to take up S.105 on the House floor for a vote carried on last week. We hear that it will finally come to a head this coming week. This is the bill that will weaken citizens’ ability to engage in the public permitting process by allowing environmental destruction to occur before a permit is final. Thank you for your continued action on this important, yet complicated, issue. Go here to ask your Representative to preserve citizens’ rights to a clean and healthy environment by voting “NO” on S.105.
• Solid Waste Management Act – Several of us in the conservation community participated in a stakeholder process with DHEC over the last year to make some updates and improvements to the Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA). H.4644 establishes an emergency response fund without creating any new fees, establishes certain conditions for facilities that recycle construction and demolition debris, codifies existing practice for determination of need, and requires an entity seeking a construction permit to provide documentation of consistency with local land use ordinances.
This important bill will be heard again in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this coming week. We are hopeful that this bill can move forward so DHEC can have the regulatory tools it needs to be successful.
That’s it for now. Thanks for staying engaged!