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Pyrolysis, Electric Vehicles, Greenspace Sales Tax and Much More

Here’s to the last week of the 2021 legislative Year! Thank you for being with us every step of the way. Before the session began, we saw great promise in ensuring that our South Carolina legislature would strengthen its efforts in making our state a cleaner and healthier place to live. And, with your help, we are able to celebrate advances in that work.

Check out what happened last week and what you can expect to see in the next three days.

What Happened Last Week

Santee Cooper: If you recall from our update two weeks ago, the Senate approved a reform package (by amending H.3194) for Santee Cooper which includes requirements for studying clean energy and coal plant retirement, Public Service Commission review and approval of resource plans, provisions for an equitable transition for communities and workers surrounding coal plants, considerations for diversity in Board appointments, increased regulatory oversight by the Office of Regulatory Staff, among other things.

Last week the House took up and passed this reform bill, making some adjustments like adding (back) in a sale option for the public utility. Now that the bill has been through both chambers, a conference committee of 6 members (three from each chamber) is tasked with hammering out the details of the final legislation. We will keep you informed on how that plays out over the next several weeks.

Solar Property Tax Clarification: With overwhelming, bipartisan support, H.3354 passed out of the Senate with a 45-0 vote. H.3354 is a proactive piece of legislation that removes another barrier for South Carolina residents to go solar. This bill will go back to the House where they will deliberate changes made in the Senate. We can actually see H.3354 become law this Year.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: With House amendments that include establishing a study committee to look at the environmental and economic impact of increased EV charging stations, S.304 passed out of the House 110-2 and is headed back to the Senate for concurrence. We will keep you updated. This is another piece of legislation that could be law this Year.

Green Space Sales Tax: What appears to be a Senate favorite, S.152 passed out of the Senate with a 44-0 vote. This bill authorizes counties to establish a sales tax that can be used for land protection efforts.

Waste Tire Regulation: Another bill that passed out of the Senate that could become law this Year is H.3222 – a bill that strengthens waste tire regulations in our state. Last week, H.3222 passed out of the Senate with an overwhelming 45-0 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

What Can You Expect This Week

Ratepayer Protection ActS.344 will be in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee this morning at 10 am. This bill gives the Public Service Commission the opportunity to temporarily suspend the process by which a public utility seeks to change or increase its rates during a declared State of Emergency. You can tune in here.

Pyrolysis: The issue of pyrolysis has been a long, hard fight. This week, that labor may finally come to end as S.525 comes to the House floor for debate. While the Senate made improvements to the bill, House members are planning to introduce amendments to make it even better and stronger. We’re fighting for stronger financial assurances (bonding) so that South Carolinians don’t find themselves footing a hefty bill, should the pyrolysis industry fail. We’re also fighting for this new industry to do a community pollution assessment that will identify concentrations of polluting industries and give the community a chance to have a voice in the permitting process. That’s why we need your help!

URGE your Representative to AMEND S.525 to provide adequate financial assurance and a community engagement process that, together, would protect the financial and environmental health of South Carolina.

With only three days remaining in this legislative Year, we can’t drop the ball. We must finish strong. Thank you for your unwavering support and advocacy. We can’t do what we do without you!

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