We had a great first week back at the Statehouse with positive headway on clean energy. Like other Hotlists, this week’s update includes a rundown on what all happened last week as well as what you can expect in the week ahead. You can always find past Hotlists on our website if you want more background on how session has shaped up.
Here’s what happened this week:
- On the first day of session, Congressman Joe Cunningham and Reps. Peter McCoy, Leon Savrinakis, and William Cogswell held a press conference with a number of local officials in Charleston highlighting local, state, and federal opposition to offshore drilling. Congressman Cunningham announced his filing of the US Coastal Economies Protection Act and Reps. McCoy, Stavrinakis, and Cogswell discussed state efforts to stop offshore drilling. Please, thank these bipartisan leaders for their steadfast opposition to offshore drilling.
- The SC Conservation Coalition presented its top legislative priorities for 2019 to Senators on Wednesday. If you were able to join us, thank you! If you missed it, don’t fret. You can watch the video of “Conversations with Conservationists” (approximately 1hr 15min).
- Governor McMaster was sworn in for his first full term on Wednesday, January 9. In his inaugural speech, Gov. McMaster highlighted conservation as one of his key priorities, sharing “we must endeavor to always protect our state’s environment, our spectacular natural resources.” He went on to discuss the need to address flooding, improve water management policies, and prevent offshore drilling. You can read the transcript of his remarks here.
- Hitting a key clean energy milestone, Senator Tom Davis introduced S.332 – the Clean Energy Access Act – in the Senate. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to injecting competition into the energy marketplace and achieves many of the goals of the 100 Days Clean Energy Agenda. Please ask your Senator to cosponsor S.332 and send a strong signal that clean energy is a priority for 2019.
- A bipartisan group of legislators, led by Sens. Tom Davis and John Matthews and Reps. Peter McCoy, Nathan Ballentine, and Bobby Cox, marked the start of session with a press conference to stress the urgency to act on clean energy in 2019 and how to inject competition into the energy marketplace. Sen. Davis highlighted S.332 and we expect Rep. McCoy to file a companion bill soon.
The week ahead:
- You’re invited to join us for our annual Legislative Kick-off Party this Wednesday (Jan 16th) from 6-8 pm at Blue Marlin’s Vista Room (1200 Lincoln St, Columbia). Learn more about the event and RSVP (via Facebook) here or you can email Rebecca directly and we’ll add you to the list.
- A Senate Agricultural and Natural Resources subcommittee will discuss two dam safety bills this week on Wednesday (Jan 16th) at 10:30 am in Gressette 209. CVSC and our partners worked closely with House and Senate leaders over the last few years to improve dam safety in the wake of widespread dam failures in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Unfortunately, the proposed bills do fall short in providing the necessary tools and improvements to enhance dam safety in South Carolina. CVSC and our partners will work to improve these bills and will keep you posted on progress.
As you can see, it was a busy start to the 2019 legislative session. With your support and actions, CVSC and our partners have been able to keep clean energy and conservation issues at the forefront. We look forward to continuing to raise the profile on these important issues and fighting to protect the South Carolina you love. I look forward to keeping you abreast of how to take action and advocate for conservation as this session continues to heat up.