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Redistricting, Protecting 3m acres, and Energy Actions

Whew! It’s been a busy two weeks for our state leaders who have been charged with the task of drawing redistricting maps for our state – a process that occurs every 10 Years.

We’re also starting to see progress on land conservation legislation before legislators return in January and action at the Public Service Commission on solar. As things like this develop this fall, our team will keep you updated.

Redistricting Updates
The Senate – The Senate redistricting committee got an early start and has already completed their public hearings around the state. It has been promising to see so many South Carolinians engaged and using their voices in this process, calling on committee members to ensure the process and results of redistricting are fair, just, and representative of the interests of communities and not of the interests of our state’s elected officials.

A number of articles have highlighted the various topics that have arisen at the various public hearings – see here and here.

As mentioned before, the Senate redistricting committee has a one-stop, user-friendly web page with resources at https://redistricting.scsenate.gov.

The House – The House redistricting committee (Representatives Jordan, Bamberg, Collins, Henegan, B. Newton. Bernstein, Elliott, and W. Newton) had their first organizational meeting on August 3rd and finalized their schedule for public hearings. Unfortunately, Chairman Jordan noted that the House will not allow virtual testimony from the public at these meetings. The House redistricting public meetings begin September 8 and continue through October 4, with the full schedule linked here.

As always, when we continue to learn more about this process, we’ll be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, if the CVSC team can help you, please let us know.

A Bold Vision for Land Protection
CVSC joined Gov. McMaster and Senators Campsen (R-Charleston) and Sabb (D-Greeleyville) at a press conference at the Black River Cypress Preserve in Georgetown earlier this month to highlight the Governor’s support for doubling the amount of protected land in South Carolina by 2050.

Part of the “Conservation and Antiquities Act” that Senator Campsen plans to file in January, achieving this goal would mean protecting an additional 3 million acres in South Carolina in the next 29 Years. As a first step in this journey, the bill restores the deed stamp funding source for the South Carolina Conservation Bank – once again linking the amount of funding for land protection to the rate of growth and development in our state. The bill also proposes to set aside a portion of the sales tax from outdoor recreation equipment to ensure that state agencies have adequate funding to manage protected land owned by the State.

You can read more about efforts to double the amount of protected land in South Carolina here and here.

We applaud the leadership from Governor McMaster and Senators Campsen and Sabb to set such a bold goal for South Carolina. Click here to send Governor McMaster (and Senator Campsen or Sabb if you are in their districts) a thank you for their leadership on this critical initiative.

CVSC is excited to work with these leaders and other stakeholders in the coming Years to both secure the resources and create the programs that will be necessary to realize this vision. We’ll keep you apprised of the process and bills that are filed in the coming months.

Critical Solar Decisions at the PSC
Finally, I hope you saw the email from John Brooker last week about the big solar cases coming up at the Public Service Commission. In case you missed it, you can get the details on the CVSC blog here.

You can also click here to sign the ratepayer letter to ask the PSC to support fair rates for large-scale solar.

That is it for now. Thanks for all you do for conservation!

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