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Hotlist: April 29

Hey friends!

Happy Monday! The countdown until the end of session has begun and that means things are going to get wild in Columbia. Let’s dive in:

Working Agricultural Lands: Last Tuesday, we were thrilled to attend the ceremonial signing of the Working Agricultural Lands bill (H.3951) at Cottle Strawberry Farms in Hopkins, SC. First and foremost—Cottle Farms: go there and bring your kids. It was lovely. Second, the remarks made by the Governor, Representative Patrick Haddon (the bill’s primary sponsor), and others served to highlight how important our farmland is to the fabric of South Carolina. This bill was a joy to support, and I’m so glad we could attend the signing.  

Budget Week: Last week, the Senate took up the budget and completed their deliberations in two days. There were a number of provisos aiming to require that businesses post signs where they discharge wastewater into public waterways; limit data centers; and prevent utilities from filing any applications to build new generation facilities at the PSC. Each of them was ruled out of order, however. 

Here is how the Senate numbers compare to the House’s:

Line ItemHouseSenate
Conservation Bank (Conservation Grant Funding)$13 million$9 million
Conservation Bank (Working Ag Lands Grant Funding)$0$3 million
DNR (Habitat Protection and Land Conservation)$0$10 million
Office of Resilience (Disaster Relief and Resilience Fund)$30 million$4 million

As you can see, there is a lot of sunlight between some of these numbers. The budget now heads back to the House, and we will likely see a conference committee where they will negotiate the differences. We’ll always support more funding for our agencies’ critical missions.

The Saga Continues: The show isn’t over yet regarding the energy bill. With only six legislative days left, the Senate is running out of time to take up the highly criticized 80-page energy bill, H.5118. But the House didn’t sit idly by. First, the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee amended every Senate bill they took up last week by adding the full text of H.5118. So, a piece of legislation dealing with firefighter residency requirements is now an omnibus energy bill; how fun! Outside of that committee, the House adjourned debate on all Senate bills, signaling a stalemate designed to push the Senate into action.

What is the Senate going to do? It is unclear. Two weeks ago, Senator Massey and a bipartisan group of lawmakers stood up and spoke out against the bill in five-minute increments that lasted over an hour. But will they succumb to the pressure? We need you to reach out to your lawmaker to tell them to stand up to the House and let H.5118 time out. 

A New Wrinkle: To add an extra layer of complexity to an already sticky situation for utilities, the EPA released new regulations on Thursday that target the exact type of gas-fired plant proposed in the bill. Under these rules, the plant would either have to install costly carbon capture technology or run at only 40% capacity. Either way, it makes this investment even more costly for customers. 


Updates

  • Elections
    • Join the CVSC Political Intel Network and make a big impact in the upcoming elections! Simply register and send us any political texts, mail, or voicemails you get. Your input helps shape our strategy to support conservation champions. In return, you’ll get exclusive updates on election news and opportunities to get more involved. Sign up now!
  • Partnerships
    • The SC Department of Transportation is hosting Public Open Houses across the state to announce its SC+EV Initiative and collect community input on the development of South Carolina’s electric vehicle charging network. These events are great opportunities to learn about SC’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding plans and provide feedback on the considerations important to you. To find more information about a meeting in your area, visit https://southcarolina-ev.com/.
  • Development
    • Tomorrow is the final day of our Spring Membership Drive, and we need your support to help us reach our $5,000 triple match! Will you make your most generous gift to CVSC right now to help us fight back against attacks on our environment, advocate for policies and regulations that safeguard our land and water, and preserve South Carolina’s special places? Every single donation will be TRIPLE MATCHED and is critical to our efforts to defend SC’s air, land, and water. Click here to triple your gift!

Action Center

Here’s a round-up of current actions you can take to help us advance conservation policy during this legislative session. If you’ve already taken these actions, thank you! We’ll add more actions and provide updates as things unfold.


Highlights

  • New staff!
    • The CVSC team has grown yet again! This month we’ve welcomed Mark Ellington DeCristoforo, Government Relations Manager, Shea Maple, Major Gifts Director, Heather Singleton, Annual Giving Director, and Tyler Mason, Lowcountry Political Manager. We couldn’t be more excited about the passion and expertise that these individuals will bring to our team!
    • We’re still hiring! CVSC seeks a part-time Land, Water, Ocean Policy Associate! To read the full job description and apply, visit: https://www.cvsc.org/about-us/careers/

In the News


The Legislative Hotlist is an update from our Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Policy, Meagan Diedolf. Sign up for emails to get the Hotlist delivered directly to your inbox!

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