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Hotlist: March 25

Greetings!

When the session started, I predicted it would be chaotic. With more than half of the session under our belt, I think I’ve been right. As we enter this race’s final leg, the General Assembly is putting its head down. Let’s dive in:

Something to Celebrate: The Trails Tax Credit bill has passed through the Senate with a minor amendment to update the language. The bill would allow property owners who voluntarily put a connecting trail easement on their property to take advantage of a tax incentive. CVSC supports this bill and I am excited to see it one step closer to passage. It heads back to the House, where I expect they will concur in amendments, and then off to the governor for signing into law!

The Energy Saga: Another week meant more movement on the House’s energy bill, H.5118. This week, the Labor, Commerce, and Industry committee held its final hearings on the bill, amended it, and then reported it to the House floor. Though amended, the bill hasn’t changed much. It still greenlights a gas megaproject on the banks of the Edisto River with undisclosed costs. It rolls back the state’s ability to oversee utility companies and hold them accountable properly. It still puts ratepayers and our environment at risk. 

I am disappointed to see the bill moving forward, and it looks like it will be up for debate this Wednesday on the House floor. Now is the time to contact your legislator to tell them to vote NO on H.5118.

But wait, there’s more: On the Senate side, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee meant to hear testimony on two other omnibus energy bills: S.909 and S.779. Both of these bills present different takes on an energy future for South Carolina. However, Senator Tom Davis acknowledged that the House’s bill (H.5118) will likely be the vehicle if any energy legislation is passed this year. At the hearing, Senator Davis presented a proposed path forward to inject a free market approach to the monopoly utility system. Injecting these principles into the monopoly utility system would lead to a cleaner, more affordable, and more resilient grid. Though the committee did not have enough time to hear from all the parties, and no action was taken, it is clear that the saga will continue. Stay tuned!


Updates

  • Energy
  • Land, Water, Ocean
    • CVSC presented to the Confederation of Historical Societies this week to give an update on the South Carolina Rosenwald Schools Trail Study. Stakeholder engagement with Rosenwald School Community groups is in full swing as we learn from communities about what they want this network to look like in their towns. Learn more about the study at scrosenwaldtrail.org!
  • Events
    • Mark your calendars! There will be an Energy Town Hall and Kayak Advocacy Event at Colleton State Park on April 7th. This event will highlight the detrimental impacts of House Bill 5118, including the proposed joint megaproject on the banks of the Edisto River located just upstream from the State Park. Please be sure to save the date; we’ll have more details soon! 
  • Partnerships

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.


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