It’s that time of year — we’re in the sprint to crossover. If legislators would like a bill to be able to pass into law this year, their legislation needs to cross from one chamber to the other by April 10th. That’s why our advocacy and your actions contacting your legislators means everything right now. With that, let’s dive in:

What happened last week

1. The Senate Amended and Passed the Bill to provide special treatment for melting plastics (Pyrolysis) industry

Last week, the Senate debated and voted on S.525 – the pyrolysis/advanced recycling bill that seeks an exemption to remove pyrolysis facilities and other “advanced recycling” facilities that handle large amounts of plastic waste and solvents from existing solid waste rules. For two days, the CVSC lobby team, along with our conservation partners, worked hard to fight against this bill.

Finally, well into the evening on Wednesday, Senators came to a compromise. Senators amended the bill to include a financial assurance component and some basic guardrails for the new industry. However, the financial assurance provisions are set to go away in 3 years. So, while the bill is improved, there are still underlying issues with the legislation that we have concerns with.

CVSC director, John Tynan explains in this pyrolysis article by The State: “South Carolina [has]… a long history of dealing with waste related disasters that have left toxic legacies…. Unfortunately, this bill signals that we haven’t learned from those experiences. This bill is putting us on track to make those same mistakes again.’’

You can read the full amended bill here.

2. Expanding Solar Access

Introduced by Representative Morgan, H.3979 seeks to expand solar access by limiting the ability of Homeowner Associations (HOAs) to make arbitrary rules against residential solar installations. While the bill has strong support with over 60 co-sponsors, over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen opponents attack the bill and slow its momentum. We’re working hard to mobilize advocates around this issue and to urge their Representatives to support this legislation if they aren’t already.

3. Lobby Week Recap

Last week was a full week of opportunity for advocates around the state to learn more about what’s happening in Columbia and how they can become engaged in the process of creating strong conservation legislation.

The Conservation Coalition drove hundreds of emails and phone calls to the legislature and we’re so grateful for the difference made this week. As we worked at the Statehouse last week, it was clear that legislators heard you!

If you missed any of our deep-dive issue webinars and would like a link to the recording, please let me know.

What to Expect This Week

  • Budget - This week, the House will take up the state’s budget. We will be paying close attention to make sure agencies like DHEC, DNR, and the Conservation Bank are properly funded.
  • Resiliency - On Thursday, the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee will take up the appointment of Ben Duncan as Chief Resilience Officer to lead the South Carolina Office of Resilience. CVSC will join the Conservation Coalition expressing its full support.
  • Nurdles -  On Wednesday at 9 am, a subcommittee of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee will take up S.596 introduced by Senator Sandy Senn to establish regulations for plastic pellets, also known as nurdles, and protect our waterways from plastic pollution. Contact your Senator to support and cosponsor this legislation, then tune in here.
  • DHEC Reform - A subcommittee of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee will begin discussions on S.2, the DHEC Reform Bill this Wednesday. You can tune in online here. Note that they have set a schedule of proposed future meetings and expect this to be a longer process in subcommittee. There is a long list of problems with this legislation, namely that it breaks apart environmental permitting and spreads it among different state agencies. As this progresses, we’ll be in touch about how you can best take action.

That’s a wrap, for now. We’ll keep you posted as things pop up. Thanks again for taking action.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!