The CVSC team has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming year. There is a lot to contend with in 2022. House members are preparing for elections, an unprecedented amount of federal dollars need allocation, and redistricting is occurring in both chambers. Nevertheless, this should be an exciting and productive year for CVSC and the South Carolina conservation community.
In fact, S.219 was approved last week by a Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee and now moves to full committee in the New Year. S.219 is a Senate joint resolution that initially required DHEC to establish drinking water standards for a family of toxic ‘forever’ chemicals called Perfluroalkly Substances (PFAS). These compounds have been used for decades in hundreds of waterproof, stain-resistant, and non-stick products, as well as firefighting foam. Because of the danger these chemicals pose, the EPA is working towards setting a standard for PFAS contamination in drinking water. This complicates state efforts as the EPA’s regulatory process can take years.
After hearing compelling testimony from community members and members of the South Carolina Conservation Coalition, the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee approved amended language that allows DHEC to finish a monitoring strategy to identify PFAS contamination and quickly allocate funds to mitigate tainted drinking water. This will help further characterize the extent of PFAS pollution in South Carolina and add to the initial test results of public water systems that found widespread pollution ranging from 2-32 ppt (parts per trillion). Those initial tests fall below the current Lifetime Health Advisory of 70 ppt but are still alarming, given the incomplete understanding of PFAS toxicity. That is why moving S.219 through the senate is an urgent matter. We simply cannot wait for the federal government to act while South Carolinians are drinking poisoned water. As a full committee hearing is scheduled and we move into the legislative session in January, we’ll be in touch about how you can take action with Senators on this important issue.
The legislature also returned this winter to finalize the redistricting process. Both chambers have released their redistricting plans, and the House will hold a public hearing on their congressional plan Thursday at 12 pm. You can tune in here. Links to the House and Senate plans can be found here. We will continue to update you as these efforts proceed.
Lastly, please join us for two upcoming events:
- The South Carolina Conservation Coalition annual Conversations with Conservationists Senate briefing with Senators Campsen and McElveen will be held on January 19th at 10 am. We will discuss agency funding, clean drinking water, and land protection. You do not want to miss this event! You can register here.
- The Government Relations team (including our new Government Relations Director, Meagan Diedolf) will host a Legislative Preview Webinar on January 10th at 6 pm via Zoom. We’ll cover our 2022 legislative priorities and answer questions from the audience. Please register here.
Stay tuned for more legislative updates in the upcoming weeks. As always, thank you for all you do to protect and to preserve the South Carolina we love.