As we celebrate Earth Day today, I can’t help but smile about the great week we had last week defending South Carolina’s natural resources. I fully expected the Senate’s budget debate to be fairly calm on the conservation-front, but it was a bit more exciting than I anticipated when it came time for budget provisos (these are budget amendments that are good for one year).
Senators made two important stands:
1. They said NO to big oil by passing a budget amendment to protect our coastline from offshore drilling.
2. They said NO to the plastic industry’s attempt to circumvent home rule.
The speeches and votes were compelling and I couldn’t be more proud of conservation champion Senators like Chip Campsen, Sandy Senn, and Tom Davis for leading on these issues.
Hot Button Action of the Week:
The Energy Freedom Act is on the Senate floor for a vote. With only 9 days left in session, the time to act is now. Send a message to your Senator now and urge them to pass the Energy Freedom Act!
What happened last week:
- Offshore Drilling: South Carolina Senators approved a budget proviso (the vote was 40-4) that would block the massive onshore infrastructure needed for offshore drilling and seismic testing.The measure aims to prohibit the industrialization of our coastline with onshore infrastructure needed to process, store, and transport oil pulled out of the ocean. We thank Senator Campsen for introducing the amendment with a long list of supporters including Senators Bright Matthews, Malloy, Senn, Harpootlian, Setzler, and Davis, as well as Governor McMaster and Attorney General Wilson.Read the stories from the announcement of the proviso at the press conference here to its passage later that evening here.It’s important to thank legislators for doing good work. Send a message and thank your Senator today for protecting South Carolina from offshore drilling.
If your Senator was one of 4 that voted no or the 2 that abstained, they’ll get a message encouraging them to vote against offshore drilling next time the opportunity arises.
- Plastic Bags and Home Rule: After failing to pass S.394 before crossover, the plastics industry led a desperate attempt to ban local ordinances controlling consumer goods through a Senate budget proviso this week. Thankfully, Senators saw through this runaround and government overreach and defeated the effort (the vote was 27-15). Senators Senn, Campsen, Harpootlian, Davis, Johnson, and Rankin fought well for home rule on the floor of the Senate.
The week ahead:
- Clean Energy: Now that the Senate is done with the budget, it’s time to vote on the Energy Freedom Act (H.3659). With only 9 legislative days left the end of the legislative year, we need to Senators to prioritize this vote act and act now.This is such an important issue, we’ve made it our Hot Button Action of the Week! Please send a message to your Senators today and help get this legislation across the finish line!I know you’ve taken action and sent emails already this year, but your efforts have gotten us so close! It’s time to finish this!
As always, you can continue to follow our weekly hotlist and more opportunities to take action at www.cvsc.org.