We turn our values into legislative priorities.
We fight for clean air, water, and land protection at the State House through bipartisan lobbying and grassroots advocacy. We connect voters with their state legislators and hold lawmakers accountable for their votes and actions. Our voices are amplified through our work with partners and the SC Conservation Coalition.
2023 Legislative Priorities
We’re actively working with legislators and stakeholders to develop comprehensive energy reform legislation that promotes a clean energy transition in South Carolina that reduces risk, promotes affordability, and enhances the reliability and resilience of SC’s grid. Using more renewable energy to generate electricity will both help the environment and lower utility bills. This is not just an environmental concern, but a financial one for ratepayers across all of South Carolina. The 15-20% rate increases seen in 2022 due to an over-reliance on natural gas are just a tip of the iceberg, with more expected in 2023.
Between the Speaker of the House’s Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Development and the ongoing Joint Committee on Energy Market Reform, this session is likely to provide major opportunities to advance clean energy in SC. We’ll be working hard to see that it includes a transition to clean energy and lower bills for ratepayers.
A lot has been happening on the Electric Vehicle (EV) front. In October, BMW announced a huge shift to EV manufacturing at its Spartanburg facility. SCDOT released its National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan to utilize federal dollars to install chargers along key corridors. Governor McMaster signed an executive order to create a point person for the EV industry and study workforce development needs in the EV space. These stories just scratch the surface when it comes to EV manufacturing, charging, and supplier companies calling SC home.
But if SC is going to be a prime location for EV and battery manufacturing, we have to make the state more EV and energy storage friendly. Therefore, CVSC is working with numerous stakeholders and partners to develop legislation that puts more EVs on the road and more charging infrastructure to support them.
- Please join us in supporting H.3824 which will expand the existing alternative fuel tax credit to include EV charging.
CVSC will continue to push for the doubling of protected lands in South Carolina through funding and support of the Conservation Bank, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. This session we support
- The Conservation Enhancement Act: H.3786 (Rep. Lowe and others) and S.280 (Sens. Campsen and Davis) allocate a portion of Deed recording fees to the Conservation Bank. This provides a guaranteed funding stream and ties land conservation directly to development.
- The SC Public Lands Enhancement Act: S.281 (Sens. Campsen and Davis) will support land protection by reallocating a portion of the sales tax revenue generated by sporting goods stores to a fund dedicated to capital improvements of public lands such as parks and wildlife management areas. It would require that an amount equal to the annual general fund portion of sales tax revenue derived from sporting goods stores be appropriated for capital improvements on state-owned parks, forests, wildlife management areas, and heritage preserves.
We all know the obvious conservation benefits of land protection, but what about the less obvious benefits? Land tells the story of those who have used it, which begs the question: Which stories are being protected and which aren’t? With the protection of historic Rosenwald Schools across South Carolina, we can protect these cultural and historic landmarks and the green spaces they sit upon. This session we’ll be working at the legislature to direct resources toward the protection of Rosenwald Schools in South Carolina. This includes the recent passage of H.3968, which recognizes February 28, 2023, as Rosenwald School Day in South Carolina.
SC rivers, lakes, and streams should be swimmable, fishable, and drinkable for all South Carolinians. We are continuing work to get Federal and State funding to the agencies that need it most to address contamination, pollution, and infrastructure needs. This includes work with DHEC to fund and allocate its PFAS Remediation Fund, support utility infrastructure requests (particularly in underserved communities), development support and funding of the State Water Plan, and good regulatory processes at DHEC to make sure environmental protections are working for everyone impacted.
Year after year, CVSC is on the frontlines of attempts to roll back environmental protections that keep us and our natural resources safe and healthy. We will be watching for these troublesome bills to be introduced. This session we are monitoring:
- DHEC Restructuring: The Department of Health and Environmental Control has long been under the General Assembly’s microscope—and for good reason! It is important to have a strong environmental permitting agency. This year, Senator Peeler has introduced a new version of a DHEC Reform bill, S.399. This year’s bill is similar to last session and splits DHEC’s environmental and public health sides. Check out our deep dive on this issue in 2022.
If splitting DHEC is the policy decision that the General Assembly is headed for, we urge the legislature to do it the right way. That requires a well-thought-out, deliberative process that ensures no one and nothing is left in the lurch. We urge lawmakers to reject or improve S.399 in favor of a more reasoned approach.
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