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Hotlist: April 9

Hey friends!

Happy Tuesday! In last week’s Hotlist, I noted that I expected a slow week at the Statehouse because the House was on furlough, but the Senate ate its Wheaties and worked long hours on a number of big pieces of legislation. There was even some movement on the House energy bill, H.5118. Let’s dive in:

Energy: A few weeks ago, the House passed their omnibus energy bill, H.5118, and it was sent over to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although CVSC and partners were initially included in the development of the bill, we have not seen our input reflected and are opposed the final bill that was approved by the House. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony on the bill early Thursday morning, though opportunity for testimony from the public was limited.  The bill was passed onto the full committee with the promise of an amendment. We expect this bill to move quickly through the Senate, but it is not clear what form the legislation may take. 

What does the bill look like at this point? It still:

  • Authorizes Santee Cooper and Dominion’s gas megaproject on the banks of the Edisto River, despite undisclosed project costs and impacts to private property and the environment. This happens despite some significant EPA regulations that will become final in a matter of weeks that will only allow certain gas facilities to operate at half of their capacity and that have the potential to significantly increase the cost of this megaproject.
  • Hamstrings the state’s ability to regulate big power companies by requiring regulators to consider the financial interest of utility monopolies in their decisions.
  • Endangers ratepayers and the environment by imposing a six-month limit on permitting decisions meaning that complicated permit decisions will have to made without adequate review. Even worse, utilities can begin initial construction of major facilities before a certificate has been obtained.
  • The list goes on…

Needless to say, in its current form, CVSC cannot support this legislation. We hope to see an amendment come out of the Senate that improves the bill substantially.

Countdown to Crossover: Crossover day is tomorrow, April 10th, which means that any legislation that hasn’t passed through one chamber by then faces hurdles in being heard in the other chamber. The Senate will be meeting in perfunctory session, but we expect long hours in the House where they will try and pass any big legislative priorities by tomorrow. 


Updates

  • Energy: Attention Duke Energy Carolinas customers in Greenwood and Seneca! Duke is asking regulators at the Public Service Commission (PSC) for a rate hike, and you have a chance to speak up. Join public hearings on April 11 (Greenwood) and April 16 (Seneca). Find details and registration links here, and contact [email protected] with any questions. Regulators will hear Duke’s side of the story—here’s your chance to tell yours! 
  • Land, Water, Ocean: Want to learn more about the SC Rosenwald Schools Trail Study? CVSC and the study steering committee will be presenting at the SC Department of Archives and History’s 2024 Historic Preservation Conference on April 26th. Click here to learn more!
  • Events: Celebrate Earth Day with CVSC! On Monday, April 22nd, from 12-1 CVSC is hosting a webinar called Partnerships, Politics, and Policy: A Holistic Approach to Environmental Advocacy and Education. Join us as we discuss our unique approach to conservation, updates on our work, and the many ways that you can get involved. Register here!
  • Development: This month, CVSC launched our Spring Membership Drive to help us defend the environmental laws, policies, and regulations that safeguard our environment, protect the health and safety of our people, and preserve South Carolina’s special places for future generations. Can you chip in $10, $20, or $30 right now to ensure we have the resources to affirm every South Carolinian’s right to clean air, water, and healthy communities. BONUS: Every donation made before April 30 will be TRIPLE MATCHED up to $5,000. Triple my 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 & Shoutouts

  • Rally for the Edisto: Over the weekend, concerned South Carolinians and environmental partners gathered in  Canadys at Colleton State Park to discuss the detrimental impacts of H.5118, specifically the proposed joint megaproject on the banks of the Edisto River located just upstream from the park. Community members shared their experiences and overwhelming opposition against the proposed gas project next door, and experts on the issue spoke about the impacts and answered questions. The discussion was followed by a group kayak excursion past the proposed location for the new gas plant.

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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