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State House Update: Regulatory Rollbacks

It’s an exciting time at the State House. Thank you for your continued interest and action in protecting the South Carolina you love.

Saving the Stay

Thank you for sending messages to your Senator in opposition to S.165, which would eliminate the Automatic Stay. In state permitting decisions, if there are environmental concerns leading to a legal appeal of a permit, SC state law allows an automatic “stay” to be put into place disallowing forward movement on the permit while a court decision is being made. The stay is not a stoppage; it is merely the ‘pause’ button until a decision is made. This makes sense: if a project is going to do more harm than good we shouldn’t allow the harm to begin before having weighed its merits, rather we should pause and measure the matter before beginning. 

We have another subcommittee hearing on the bill this week, so please continue to take action by asking your Senator to oppose S.165.

Polluter Amnesty 

In 2012, the Pollution Control Act was amended to substitute the citizens’ “cause of action” over unlawful pollution for a process allowing citizens to challenge DHEC if it fails to prevent pollution. A “savings clause” was included to ensure constitutionality and to protect the “citizens’ right to sue over unpermitted pollution that occurred prior to the passage of the compromise.
S.229, the Polluter Amnesty Bill, is up for debate in the Senate. This bill equates to issuing an unconstitutional amnesty for past, unpermitted pollution undoing the “savings clause” that was included in the Pollution Control Act (PCA) compromise and was agreed to by all parties in 2012. The agreed upon Savings Clause preserved all pending actions, suits, and all rights, liabilities and duties as they existed before the act was passed in June 6, 2012 (as required by the Constitution). S.229 would amend the Savings Clause to preserve only pending actions and suits, with no protection of rights, liabilities and duties to sue for clean-up of past, unpermitted pollution that we may not even know about yet.
Please take action to ask your Senator to oppose S.229.


We are closely following renewed efforts to reopen the Barnwell nuclear waste site. A bill has not been filed in the Senate yet, but we are already advocating against any changes to the Atlantic Compact. Gov. Haley spoke in opposition of changing the Atlantic Compact last week. Please check out several recent editorials on the issue: The Statethe Rock Hill Herald, and the Aiken Standard.

Coastal Protection 

Thank you for your action last week to send H.3797 back to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for review! H.3797 is special interest legislation which threatens to eliminate protections afforded by the Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) to about 90% of Dorchester County. Through the CZM, South Carolina’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management (OCRM) has the authority to review state and federal permit applications in the coastal zone to balance economic development with coastal protections.

Please help us support H.3378 (Rep. Herbkersman), which is waiting for a vote in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. This bill will implement the recommendations of DHEC’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management (BRC) which was charged with reviewing SC’s landmark Beachfront Management Act and recommending regulations to help guide the stewardship of beachfront and estuarine shorelines. Thank you to our partners who testified this week in the subcommittee hearing.

Please save the date for the 12th Annual Conservation Lobby Day and Legislative Reception on April 15th! To review the schedule and RSVP, please visit conservationlobbyday.eventbrite.com 

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