Our fight against pyrolysis is well underway. Both bills (H.3753 and S.525) were taken up in their respective subcommittees last week. Thanks to you and the efforts from our conservation partners, we were able to celebrate a small win with the House bill. Unfortunately, we were not as successful in the Senate. The fight to stop the big plastic and big chemical industry continues, and we need your help.
What happened last week?
Pyrolysis Exemptions & Incineration in the House: A subcommittee in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs heard testimony from opponents of H.3753 – a bill that would have exempted facilities that melt plastic from SC solid waste regulations and increased the size of incineration facilities in SC. CVSC’s own and Executive Director, John Tynan, testified in front of the subcommittee – highlighting the serious public health risks that would occur if these industries operate un-checked. Hearing his concerns and others who gave ardent remarks on the dangers of burning large amounts of trash, the subcommittee moved to adjourn debate on the bill. This means that H.3753 did not move forward. We will continue to monitor this legislation to make sure it stays that way.
Pyrolysis Exemptions in the Senate: Unfortunately, after hours of testimony from conservation advocates and partners, a Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee advanced S.525 with a 3-2 vote. This bill not only eliminates crucial waste management oversight; but, it also exempts “advanced recycling” facilities from financial assurance requirements – potentially leaving taxpayers footing the bill for likely cleanups and failures. Fires at facilities in Jasper County and Chester County paint vivid and alarming pictures of what can go wrong, and our state leaders should see what happened in these counties as a cautionary tale to what could happen again if bill S.525 becomes law.
What can you expect this week?
Today at 3 pm, a Senate Judiciary Special Committee will meet to take up House bill H.3194 and Senate bill S.464, bills that deal with Santee Cooper. You can watch it here. You may remember that H.3194 authorizes the sale, reform, or management of the public utility Santee Cooper. With amendments, this bill passed out of the House with an 89-26 vote. S.464 is a Senate bill that limits Santee Cooper’s board members from serving two, unexpired consecutive terms and charges the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to review any changes to rates.
On Thursday, February 18th at 9 am, the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee will take up S.525, the Melting Plastics (pyrolysis) bill discussed above. You can watch it here. As mentioned, S.525 is a bill that will exempt the melting plastics industry from existing rules that require financial assurances for pollution prevention and site cleanup – posing extremely environmental and public health risks.
As you can see, last week was a full, productive week. This week is showing to be even more demanding. That’s why it’s going to take all of us to stop polluting industries from changing our existing laws just to protect their profit-margins. South Carolina is known for its beautiful places and smiling faces. Let’s keep it that way.
As always, thank you for all that you do to ensure a clean, safe, and healthy South Carolina!