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Santee Cooper Update

You’ve probably recognized that the fate of Santee Cooper has taken much of our lawmakers’ time. So, understandably, not much legislation moved through either chambers last week. And, with their obvious dedication to making the right decision for all South Carolinians, we should expect to see much of the same from our legislators over the next couple of weeks.

Nevertheless, even with slow legislative movement, we can continue to use our voices to advocate for a strong and healthy environment. Hence, in this week’s legislative update, you’ll find several opportunities to make your voices heard.

Read about some of last week’s happenings, what you can expect to see this week, and how you can get involved.

What happened last week?
The Future of Santee Cooper: The Senate’s Finance Committee continued to hear testimony from the Department of Administration (DOA) and its team of expert consultants and from utility companies NextEra and Dominion. The House Ways and Means Ad Hoc committee also had a full week of examining proposals from the DOA and NextEra, while also hearing feedback from the Central Electric Power Cooperative.

Reassuringly, members from both chambers of the General Assembly made it very clear that they are going to take this complicated process seriously and deliberately to make certain that previous missteps are not made again. In fact, one lawmaker repeated the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

You can take a closer look into last week’s hearings by reading WIS TV’s take here. You can also find more information about the proceedings by reading The Post and Courier’s article, How Santee Cooper is Trying to Convince SC Lawmakers to Forgive its Costly Mistakes.

What’s happening this week?

Santee Cooper: Now that the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Ad Hoc Committee have heard testimony from all three bidders, they will hear testimony from the public this week. Then, the House Ways and Means Committee will meet Thursday to discuss the Santee Cooper resolution (H.5136) in full committee, getting into the nuts of bolts of what they’d ultimately like to do with the future of the state-owned utility.

We’ll continue to keep you informed as this process moves forward. In the meantime, sign the petition for a 100% clean energy future for Santee Cooper.

Clean Drinking Water: As mentioned in last week’s legislative update, PFAS and PFOS are dangerous chemicals that have recently been found in water sources in South Carolina. Rep. J.A. Moore (H.4718) and Sen. Thomas McElveen (S.1111) both have bills that address these dangerous chemicals that too often affect our state’s most vulnerable communities.

We still do not have a subcommittee set for these bills. So, please, encourage your legislators to co-sponsor legislation that would establish standards for these chemicals and ensure that your drinking water is protected.

Offshore Drilling: Maintaining a healthy ecosystem is one of the most important ways to ensure that our state remains safe and livable. That’s why it’s important that we safeguard our state’s coasts from big, corporate interests. It’s time for us to finish the fight against offshore drilling. A bill that would stop offshore drilling is languishing on the floor of the House. We need your pressure today to help it get a vote.

Click here to ask your Representative to vote on the bill to block offshore drilling from our South Carolina waters.

Microplastics: A joint resolution introduced by Senator Sheheen at the beginning of this Year’s legislative session will direct DHEC and DNR to jointly research the impact of microplastics and how they pose threats to our public health and the environment. This bill, S.1023, will be up for discussion on Thursday, March 5th at 10 AM in the Senate’s Medical Affairs Committee. You can watch it live here.

Turtle Bill: A few weeks ago, we shared the exciting news that the “Turtle Bill” passed the House and was sent to the Senate. Remember, this bill prohibits the release of non-native captive wildlife in our state.

There’s more exciting news! On Wednesday, March 4th, the Senate will take this bill up in the Fish, Game, and Forestry sub-committee at 10 AM. We’re hopeful that this bill will move through the Senate as quickly as it moved through the House.

We’ll keep you posted.

Conservation Lobby Day – NEW DATE: Our SC Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast will be on Tuesday, March 24th. This is an all-day event with lobby training, lobbying at the Statehouse, and an evening oyster roast. Register now! You don’t want to miss this annual event!

Thank you for using your voice to push for a healthier and safer South Carolina. Also, don’t forget to visit our Action Center.

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