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HOTLIST: Clean energy action & a bold conservation agenda

At CVSC, we pride ourselves on spending time with voters as well as their elected officials. I often hear complaints from voters that “our legislators don’t listen to us.” Well, guess what? After this week, I can say with conviction that they are listening.

In fact, several conservation bills were introduced to specifically address concerns that constituents raised with their state legislators. This shows that your passion, your support, and your voice makes a difference.

Even better, I had the pleasure of working with these voters and their legislators to see these discussions bear fruit. I love it when legislators and constituents seek out CVSC for our support and help. Let’s keep up the great teamwork! If you want to stay up to date on all the hot bills you can take action on, check out our Action Center on our website.

We have another opportunity to thank legislators for their leadership and chat with them about the issues you care about. Please, join CVSC and our partners in the SC Conservation Coalition at a Legislative Breakfast on February 5th from 8-10 am. You can RSVP here.

What happened last week?

We had a great time at the SC Conservation Coalition Senate Briefing last week. If you weren’t able to join us, you can still watch it online here (click on Wed, Jan 22, at 10 am, “the Conversation with Conservationists”).

Access to Solar: Time and time again we hear that South Carolinians want access to solar on their rooftops. But sometimes Homeowner Associations (HOAs) deny homeowners the ability to install solar panels. To address this issue, legislators in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to make sure homeowners in HOAs aren’t denied access to solar (H.5011 by Rep. Herbkersman and S.1032 by Sen. Davis) We’ll keep you posted as we identify the best time to take action on these bills. Many thanks go to the Beaufort County legislative delegation for their action and response to constituent concerns.

Conservation Legislative Package sponsored by Sen. Sheheen: Earlier this week, CVSC Executive Director John Tynan joined Senator Vincent Sheheen as he rolled out his 2020 conservation agenda. This bold agenda proposes or joins with his Senate colleagues on existing efforts to address the wide ranging environmental issues facing South Carolina – from loss of open spaces, to increased plastic pollution, to carbon emissions reduction, and illegal wildlife trading. You can check out the entire list of bills and what they do on our blog.

I’d like to highlight two of the items that are the most exciting:

  • The South Carolina Thirty-By-Thirty Conservation Act, aims to conserve 30% of South Carolina’s land by the Year 2030. S.1024 would assemble an interagency task force with the main goal of identifying ways to protect critical landscapes across South Carolina that have been harmed by rapid development.
  • S.1025 will direct the South Carolina State Government to become carbon free by the Year 2050, tasking the State Energy Office with developing a plan to get us there.

Energy Issues: The Senate and House both passed resolutions calling to reopen the screening process for the Public Service Commission. Unless something changes this week, applications will be open throughout most of February for Congressional Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. We’ll be in touch about this process and about how you can help us hold the Commission accountable.

What’s happening this week?

Protecting SC from Offshore Drilling: Senator Campsen’s offshore drilling bill, S.870, is advancing to the full Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday morning. We’re excited about this progress and just need to keep up this positive momentum.
At the same time, a similar bill in the South Carolina House sponsored by Reps. McCoy and Stavrinakis (H.3087) sits on the House floor with 70 bipartisan cosponsors. CVSC and our anti-drilling allies will be pushing hard for a vote to ensure that South Carolina does all it can to protect our coast from the dangers of offshore drilling.

Take action today to ask your Senator and Representative to support our fight against offshore drilling.

Microplastics: A joint resolution introduced by Senator Sheheen last week will direct DHEC and DNR to jointly research the issue of microplastics and the impact on our public health and the environment. They will then recommendations and a strategy to address the issue. This bill, S.1032, will be up for discussion and a vote in a Senate Subcommittee this Thursday at 10 am.

Energy issues

  • A bill (H.4776) to require a “cooling off” period for Public Service Commissioners between serving and working for a utility is up for debate in House LCI Subcommittee on Wednesday morning. This legislation will send an important signal to Commissioners that they need to serve ratepayers before the utility monopolies.
  • We’re expecting news on the Santee Cooper bid and report process late this week or sometime the week of February 3. In the meantime, we’re continuing to push legislators to advocate for a 100% clean energy commitment from Santee Cooper that will lower bills, create jobs, and protect us from air and water pollution. Please sign our petition for a 100% clean energy Santee Cooper if you haven’t yet.

Thanks for all you do. We couldn’t have this success without your support.

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