Week two of the 2022 legislative year is in the books. And, while it was a short week because of weather conditions, we persisted in making sure every South Carolinian has clean air, clean water, and access to safe green space.
Here’s what we worked on last week:
Advanced Recycling (Pyrolysis): Last week, legislators came to an agreement on the final version of the Pyrolysis bill (S.525) – a bill that exempts the pyrolysis/advanced recycling industry from solid waste regulations in South Carolina. While CVSC opposed this legislation and saw it as dangerous and unnecessary, we were instrumental in amending the bill to include critical and precedent-setting guardrails that will protect South Carolina’s taxpayers and most vulnerable communities.
The amendments to the bill are the first time that the South Carolina legislature has provided DHEC the ability to review the compliance history of an applicant when granting permits and the first time the legislature has required bonding for a new and unproven type of industry. You can read more about it here and here.
We understand that while improvements in the pyrolysis bill set important precedent, they are not as bold as we had hoped. Therefore, our work to hold polluters accountable for their impacts to the environment and taxpayers does not end here. We must remain vigilant to ensure polluters are held accountable to the highest safety, environmental, and public health standards. This is the most direct way to ensure taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for massive cleanups and that the most vulnerable communities don’t continue to be put in harm’s way.
Clean Drinking Water (PFAS): Initially scheduled for Thursday, January 20th, a Senate Medical Affairs Committee hearing was cancelled as legislators were challenged with a short, packed-full week of meetings. We anticipate that the full committee hearing will be rescheduled soon. Stay tuned for the new date and time.
In the meantime, as we continue to work with our partners around the state to address this issue of ensuring clean drinking water for our state’s most exposed communities, ask your Senator to support S.219 – a bill that will allow the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) to fund solutions and direct resources to address PFAS contaminated drinking water.
Funding: The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees have been busy discussing the large pots of money the General Assembly will have to allocate this year. We continue to hear members of those committees call for transformational projects, and we will be watching closely to ensure that those funds are allocated equitably.
Conversations with Conservationists: A big Thank you goes to Senators McElveen and Campsen for hosting the South Carolina Conservation Coalition’s annual Senate Briefing: Conversations with Conservationists. On Wednesday, January 19th, the South Carolina Conservation Coalition shared environmental and conservation issues critical to our state. Thank you to our partners and community voices who shared expert and personal testimony.
If you were not able to join us, you can watch here.
Mining: Protected natural public lands and safe green space continues to be a concern for CVSC. Along with our partners in the South Carolina Conservation Coalition, we support H.3892 and hope to see it become law.
As mentioned in last week’s legislative update, H.3892 is a bill that seeks to prohibit DHEC from issuing any permit for the construction of a solid waste facility for mining projects that are located within two miles of a public park, preserve, or green space. With a 4-0 vote, the bill was amended and passed out of the House Environmental Affairs subcommittee to focus exclusively on where mines can be permitted.
This Week Ahead at the State House
Offshore Wind: Introduced last week by Representative Jason Elliot with bipartisan support, H.4831 is a joint resolution that directs the Department of Commerce to conduct an economic development study to evaluate the state’s business advantages to create a roadmap that attracts offshore wind energy supply chain industries to South Carolina.
The LCI Public Utilities subcommittee will hold a hearing on H.4831 on Wednesday at 10:00 AM in room 403 of the Blatt Building. Tune in here.
Register to Attend! Join us on Wednesday, February 16th at 5:30 pm as we welcome our team, partners, voters, and legislators back to the state house for another year of protecting the South Carolina we love. This is an in-person event, and we encourage you to only attend if you feel comfortable doing so and to take proper COVID precautions. You can register here.
As always, thank you for using your voice for a healthy, clean, and safe South Carolina.