COLUMBIA, SC – CVSC today released the 2017-2018 Conservation Scorecard, the primary yardstick for evaluating the conservation records of every member of the SC Legislature. The Scorecard is available online at https://www.cvsc.org/scorecard/legislative-scorecard/.
Since 2002, CVSC has held legislators accountable at the Statehouse for votes on priority conservation issues through the Scorecard. As a result, CVSC has helped to foster strong bipartisan leadership to protect the air, land, and water across South Carolina.
Scores for the 2017-2018 session averaged 59% in the House and 65% in the Senate. With 16 votes in the House and 6 in the Senate, the 2018 Scorecard highlights more votes than ever before – covering clean energy and energy reform, rollbacks of citizens’ rights to a clean environment, waste management, land protection, and more.
“As we work to educate, advocate, and elect conservation champions at the South Carolina Statehouse, the Scorecard is the best guide to help South Carolinians hold their elected leaders accountable for their actions in the legislature,” said John Tynan, Executive Director of CVSC. “Clearer than ever before, this year’s Scorecard shows who has fought for a clean and healthy environment as well as who’s done the bidding of anti-conservation special interests.”
In the 2017-2018 legislative session, state legislators championed and passed laws to permanently reauthorize the Conservation Bank, reduce littering, solidify historic shoreline protection policies, and improve solid waste management. This session’s Scorecard highlights several of the votes that presented members of the SC Legislature with a real choice – distinguishing which legislators are working for conservation of South Carolina’s natural resources and which are not. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at https://www.cvsc.org/scorecard/legislative-scorecard/.
Despite contentious votes in the House and Senate, 16 Representatives and 9 Senators scored 100% or more, continuing the longstanding tradition of strong bipartisan leadership in both chambers on conservation legislation. The Scorecard also highlighted sponsorship and co-sponsorship of key conservation policies, including continued leadership by Sen. Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster) and Reps. James Smith (D-Columbia), Gary Clary (R-Clemson), and Russell Ott (D-Saint Matthews).
Conservation champions on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers fought against the efforts of special interests to weaken the rights of citizens to hold polluters accountable – including rollbacks to the Automatic Stay and state nuisance laws. Strong bipartisan pushback on these bills led to significant compromises that limited the impact of these bills. Bipartisan coalitions in the House and Senate also worked to defeat efforts to strip local communities of their right to limit plastic pollution.
At the time of release of the initial Scorecard, numerous energy policies introduced in the 2017-2018 session remain unsettled. Given the digital and versatile nature of the Scorecard, CVSC will update the Scorecard regarding outcomes of the deliberations on these bills later this summer.
Since the 2013-2015 legislative session, CVSC has shared their Conservation Scorecard online. You can explore the most recent 2017-2018 Scorecard at https://www.cvsc.org/scorecard/legislative-scorecard/