State House Update: coastal protections and more
Whew! Things are busy at the State House! Here’s the rundown:
Shoreline Management: The Senate should finally have a chance this week to restore the permanent baseline language to S.139 from DHEC’s Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) on Shoreline Management’s recommendations. We’ve been talking about setting a permanent baseline to limit seaward development on our shoreline for several Years — and it’s finally time to act. We thank Senator Cleary for pushing for a permanent baseline in keeping with the BRC’s recommendations. We need to make sure our Senators vote for conservation. Please email your Senator about S.139 today.
Conservation Bank: We’ve enjoyed adding co-sponsors to Rep. Bingham’s Conservation Bank bill. We have over half of the House signed on! Please thank your Representative for adding their name to it, or encourage them to do so this week before it’s filed. The bill mirrors Senator Campsen’s bill in the Senate (S.519). It will eliminate the sunset, improve the death clause, and increase funding by .05 cents (as recommended by the Wetlands Task Force). We also appreciate that the DNR Board supports both the Campsen and Bingham bills.
Lake Conestee: After about two Years of pursuing recognition of Lake Conestee Nature Park as a “Wildlife Sanctuary” in state statutes (like Beidler Forest and numerous other properties around the state) our friends at the Conestee Foundation have H.4743, introduced by Representatives Eric Bedingfield and Chandra Dillard. Thanks to your support and letters to the subcommittee, the bill passed out of subcommittee last week and is headed to the full House Ag committee for a vote. This is long overdue and we’re happy to see the Park get this recognition.
Plastic Bags: Legislators in the House recently introduced legislation (H.4793) to “ban” plastic bag bans. Some municipalities, including Isle of Palms, have already taken steps to reduce plastic waste on our beaches. This bill targets local governments, despite SC being a “home rule” state, attempting to prevent towns and cities from enacting their own local waste-reduction solutions, including banning plastic bag bans. Please take action with our partners at the Coastal Conservation League here. Also, check out this Post & Courier editorial.
Dam Safety: We’re closely following DHEC’s dam safety reform bill (H.4565) in the House Ag committee. We look forward to seeing positive reform and will let you know as action is needed.
Finally, due to changes in the legislative calendar, we’ve had to reschedule our Conservation Lobby Day and Oyster Roast. Please save the date for March 8th. We’ll have a full day of advocacy at the State House followed by a reception and oyster roast at 701 Whaley St. Stay tuned for more details. If you’d like to sponsor the oyster roast, please email me at [email protected] Please RSVP.