What a week! Sometimes the legislature is loud and boisterous and sometimes the work happens quietly and quickly. Last week had a healthy mix of the two. We had a productive subcommittee hearing on energy and worked to make sure anti-conservation bills continue to move slowly (if at all) through the General Assembly.
What happened last week:
- Clean Energy: We had some positive developments last week with a subcommittee hearing on H.3659 in the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry (LCI) Committee. The Public Utilities Subcommittee met last Thursday to discuss a proposed compromise amendment. After robust discussion about the impact of the bill and amendment, we hope to see action on the bill this week. In addition, a strong coalition of solar industry groups, clean energy advocates, and conservation organizations continued to add cosponsors to both the House and Senate bills (H.3659 andS.332). Last week, Representatives Hyde, Jefferson, and R. Williams signed on in support of energy competition and we thank them for their support.
- Coal Ash Disposal: Remember when we worked with legislators in 2016 to get coal ash disposed of properly in class 3 landfills? H.3483, filed by Upstate Rep. Davey Hiott (Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee), will keep those protections in place. Luckily, it passed out of the House last week!
The week ahead:
- Dam Safety Rollbacks: Thankfully, another week passed with no action on the problematic dam safety rollback bill. But we need to keep up the pressure. If passed as written, S.107 would exempt over 1,600 “low hazard” dams from the state’s Dam Safety Program. Not only is this legislation unnecessary (DHEC can already exempt low hazard dams if they don’t pose a threat), but it’s also dangerous. The majority of the 80+ dams that failed in the last 4 years have been low hazard dams – destroying private property, damaging roads and infrastructure, and causing loss of life.Please ask your Senator to reject a rollback of the Dam Safety Program.
- Anti-Home Rule: Thankfully, we also avoided another week of action on the anti-home rule, pro-plastic bag industry bill that would stop communities from addressing plastic pollution problems. Congrats go this week to the Town of Arcadia Lakes in Richland County for passing an ordinance to limit the use of plastic bags and styrofoam. You can read about the Arcadia Lakes decision in this article from The State newspaper.Please ask your Senator to hold strong in their protection of home rule.
We’re busily collecting RSVPs from legislators and advocates for the Feb. 21 Legislative Breakfast with the Conservation Coalition – RSVP today. From 8-10 am in Room 112 of the Blatt Building, we’ll enjoy breakfast from Blue Marlin while chatting with legislators and our friends in the SC Conservation Coalition about our legislative priorities and conservation values.
As always, you can continue to follow our weekly hotlist and more opportunities to take action at www.cvsc.org.