It is safe to say that the last two years were tough for all of us. However, even as its challenges still linger, there is still the opportunity to appreciate what could be – especially with much conservation and environmental work ahead of us in 2022. And, last week proved that it is going to take all of us to ensure a clean and safe South Carolina.
Here’s a recap of what happened in Columbia last week:
Forever Chemicals in Our Drinking Water (PFAS): While we’re not at the finish line yet, all of your hard work is paying off! On Thursday, January 20th at 10 am, a full Senate Medical Affairs committee will take up S.219 (PFAS). S.219 ensures that all South Carolinians have access to clean, untainted drinking water as we wait on federal PFAS standards from the EPA. Tune in here.
Advanced Recycling (Pyrolysis): You may remember S.525 – a bill that seeks to exempt a new industry (that utilizes pyrolysis) from the state’s solid waste rules.
As S.525 picked up momentum last year, we fought a hard fight for financial assurances (bonding) so that South Carolinians don’t find themselves footing a hefty bill, should this industry fail. With robust debates on this issue in the House and Senate, we were able to secure financial assurance requirements, but with different language in the House and Senate bills. We prefer the House version. The bill also authorizes DHEC to look at the compliance history of pyrolysis facilities when issuing permits.
As we expected, the House non-concurred with the Senate amendments, and S.525 now goes to a conference committee that is scheduled tomorrow at 10 am. Senators Gambrell, Senn, and Garrett will represent the Senate; Representatives Hiott, Burns, and Atkinson will represent the House.
As always, we will continue to keep you updated. Bailey
Legislation We’re Monitoring
E-Waste - H.4775 is a bill that reauthorizes the process for management and disposal of electronic waste including extending the ban on electronic waste from landfills in South Carolina. Filed by Representatives Hiott and Bailey, H.4775 now sits in the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs committee. This bill could be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing soon. We were instrumental in passing the original legislation and are supportive of its reauthorization.
Mining - H.3892 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 to a public park, preserve, or green space. Filed by Representative Yow, H.3892 sits in the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs committee and could also be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing soon.
Funding - As we continue to track the big-money-asks this year and support our natural resource and environmental protection agencies, it was exciting to see DNR’s commitment to land protection last week with a $140 million dollar ask for land acquisition. We’re looking forward to supporting more efforts to double protected lands in South Carolina.
Join us tomorrow, January 19th from 10:30 am – 11:30 am in Room 105 of the Gressette Building for Conversations with Conservationists: A Senate Briefing (note the time change to 10:30 and that we are also now in room 105 to accommodate more guests if you’d like to attend in person). We will discuss environmental and conservation issues critical to our state this legislative year with the SC Conservation Coalition and Senators Campsen and McElveen. If you would rather tune-in online, the briefing will be streamed on the State House website.
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. * Note: 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.
Thank you for all you do to help protect and preserve our beloved state.