Legislators hit the ground running the first week of session and pushed forward great conservation legislation that will protect SC from offshore drilling and will secure a clean energy future for SC.
To top off the good momentum, we also get to celebrate with our members and our friends at the State House at our annual Legislative Kick-off Reception tonight at the Blue Marlin Restaurant’s Visa Room from 6-8 pm. I hope to see you there!
Tomorrow morning, we’ll chat with Senators at the SC Conservation Coalition Senate Briefing in Room 105 of the Gressette Building at 10 am. Hosted by Senators Gregory and McElveen, the briefing will allow conservation leaders to give in-depth insight into key priorities for the community in 2020. Check out the event on Facebook here.
What happened last week?
Reforming the PSC and implementing the Energy Freedom Act:
The Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) recently completed 14 interviews to determine two things – first to determine who is qualified for the Public Service Commission (PSC) and second to decide who to nominate to the legislature for consideration to serve on the PSC. Remember, the PSC is the quasi-judicial panel that oversees energy decisions in the State, ranging from solar marketplace issues to long-term energy planning for utilities.
The PURC found 6 individuals qualified. However, the PURC did not nominate anyone to the legislature for consideration. Instead, they are asking the legislature to re-open the PSC applications and do another round of applications and interviews. The legislature is working on a joint resolution to reopen the application period from Feb 3-Feb 28. That way they’ll have at least 2 qualified candidates per district (2 districts only have 1 qualified person so far). To read more about the recent decision by the PURC, click here.
We will update you as we learn more about next steps. For now, please do not advocate for any candidates while they are waiting for PURC nomination.
The Fate of Santee Cooper:
In exciting news, a House Resolution (H.4868) unanimously passed this week expressing strong support of the House for a 100% clean energy future for Santee Cooper or its successor by 2050. It also calls for a fair and equitable transition to a clean energy future and presses for more transparency and accountability in all energy decisions. Every Representative’s name was added to this Resolution – showing strong support for these goals. Read more about the news here.
The SC Department of Administration is expected to release its recommendations regarding the purchase or management of Santee Cooper as well as the reform plan for Santee Cooper within the next 60 days. Given this timing, this resolution is an important indication of what lawmakers will be looking for in the debate. In addition, the SC Energy Caucus leadership’s support for 100% clean energy by 2050 sends a strong signal that this issue will be at the top of these lawmakers’ minds. If you want to show your support for a 100% clean energy Santee Cooper, you can sign our petition here.
Protecting SC from Offshore Drilling:
With your help, a Senate subcommittee approved Senator Campsen’s offshore drilling bill that will ban on-shore infrastructure for drilling last week. The bill now heads to full committee where we will push for a similarly strong vote of support.
At the same time, a similar bill in the South Carolina House sponsored by Reps. McCoy and Stavrinakis (H.3087) sits on the House floor with 70 bipartisan cosponsors. CVSC and our anti-drilling allies will be pushing hard for a vote to ensure that South Carolina does all it can to protect our coast from the dangers of offshore drilling.
- A Senate Subcommittee approved a wildlife trading bill (S.885) intended to help protect native reptiles and amphibians from being sold on the black market.
- A House Subcommittee approved a bill (H.4504) to address problems with accumulated tires at tire recycling facilities in South Carolina and to hold bad actors accountable.
What’s happening this week?
The House of Representatives can vote on offshore drilling any day now. Encourage your Representative to support our coast!
And finally, I hope to see you at our Legislative Kick-off Reception tonight at Blue Marlin.
Thanks for all you do. We couldn’t have this success without your support.