Offshore drilling is a-buzz in Columbia this week.
Not only do we have the Rally Against Offshore Drilling tomorrow (see below and join us), but it looks like we have a “war of resolutions” heating up…
In the last few weeks, multiple pro-drilling and anti-drilling resolutions have been introduced, so that we now have four anti-drilling resolutions and three pro-drilling resolutions.
Offshore drilling is a clear example of why your voice matters and why we cannot let up.
Because of your tireless work, every coastal community in South Carolina has spoken out in opposition to drilling. And because of this groundswell of support, drilling was taken off the table in 2016.
But, like many of the bad bills we defeat, offshore drilling has once again reared its head. We need your voice, again, to prevent this threat to South Carolina’s economy and quality of life.
But that’s not all that’s going on this week…
With the furious pace of this legislative session, there are a number of bills that we need you to take action on. Read below for this week’s updates and visit our Legislative Action Center for the latest and most urgent actions this week. >>
JOIN US IN COLUMBIA – SOON!!
• TOMORROW, Rally Against Offshore Drilling – Tomorrow is THE DAY to show your opposition to offshore drilling. We hope to see you at the Statehouse at 11 am for an offshore drilling rally. And bring an umbrella just in case, because the rally is rain or shine!
• Feb. 22 Legislative Breakfast and Lobby Day – Join us on the 22nd from 8-10 am in room 112 of the Blatt House of Representatives building in Columbia. After breakfast, you can also join us for a lobby day. We know it’s early, but isn’t advocacy over a meal always a good thing? Go here to let us know if you can attend. >>
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST WEEK
• Conservation Bank– H.4727, the House version of the Conservation Bank Reauthorization bill, passed out of committee last week 24-0 and is now headed to the House floor. This is a huge step forward for reauthorization of the Conservation Bank. The amended bill makes the Bank permanent, removes the deed-stamp funding, requires approval from the State Fiscal Accountability Authority for any easement over $1 million from the Bank, allows the Bank to make grants to enhance public access lands, and modifies the decision-making process of the Bank. While the bill is not perfect, it ensures that South Carolina continues to invest in land protection – and that’s something to get excited about!
• Immunity for Industry (Nuisance) – The House agreed with the Senate amendments on H.3653 and the bill is now headed to the governor’s desk for consideration. While we still believe that this bill is unnecessary, the Senate amendments fix the most egregious elements of the bill and limit its impacts on homeowners. Thank you for your work on this effort and turning this horrible bill into a more minor one.
• Energy – The South Carolina Energy Caucus met last week to discuss H.4421, a bill that will remove many of the barriers to residential solar growth in South Carolina. This bill will give residential ratepayers the certainty and tools to take control of their energy future and reduce their power bills through renewable energy. We hope to see this bill move forward soon in the House and will keep you updated on when you can take action.
• Home Rule and Plastic Bags – Unfortunately, H.3529 passed the House this week by a vote of 73-41. Sadly, local communities are now one step closer to losing their right to pass ordinances to control litter like plastic bags and styrofoam. The bill now heads to a committee in the Senate for debate and discussion, so you’ll have another chance to ask your senator to protect home rule in South Carolina.
• Offshore Drilling – Three more offshore drilling resolutions were introduced last week. Reps. Burns, Chumley, and Loftis introduced H.4887, which supports drilling off our coast. Rep. McEachern proposed H.4892 and and numerous co-sponsors introduced H.4896 – both of these resolutions oppose offshore drilling.
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Conservation Bank – H.4727 heads to the House floor for a vote this week – the first time this has occurred in four years. With 2018 being a “do or die” year for the Conservation Bank, keeping the momentum behind this bill is critical. Tell your Representative to support reauthorizing the Bank. >>
• Shoreline Management – This Tuesday (the same as the Rally Against Offshore Drilling) a House subcommittee will discuss H.4683, the House bill that rolls back critical shoreline protections. Email me if you’d like to join us at this meeting as we defend decades of study, collaboration, and implementation of sound coastal management policies. DHEC’s public notice process for shoreline management needs to be fixed, but this bill is not the way to do it. You can also contact your legislator to encourage them to make sure we balance conservation and shoreline development. >>
• Automatic Stay – It is likely that we could see a vote on S.105 this week in the House. This is the bill that will weaken citizens’ ability to engage in the public permitting process. It would take away an important pause button in the permitting process and allow environmental destruction to occur before a permit is final. Take action on this bill today and ask your Representative to vote “NO” and preserve citizens’ rights to a clean and healthy environment. >>
Please remember to take action on these bills in our Legislative Action Center.
If you have any questions about these bills or want to read more about our conservation priorities for this session, check out our summary of 2018 legislative priorities here. >>
As always, thanks for all you do!