John Tynan
February 6, 2017

Rebecca’s weekly legislative Hotlist is now live and can be found here. As she notes, a number of anti-conservation bills are expected to have floor votes this week. I wanted to take a moment and highlight one of these bills a bit more and why it is particularly troubling.

At Conservation Voters, we talk about about “the South Carolina we love.” Often, we use this in reference to our air, land, water, and energy resources. But the South Carolina we love is much bigger than just natural resources – it includes the people and the values that define us.

What I love about the people of South Carolina is that we’re fiercely independent, resourceful, and innovative. Despite the challenges we regularly face, South Carolinians consistently come together and find ways to move our communities forward and better the lives of those around us. 

I find it both curious and disturbing, then, that there’s a bill moving quickly through the House that seeks to undermine the fierce independence, resourcefulness, and innovation that are the hallmarks of South Carolina. H.3529 seeks to strip the ability of local governments to create local solutions to local problems (you can take action on this bill here). The bill zeroes in on how local governments manage plastics, styrofoam, and other “container” pollution – but the debate at the heart of this bill is much bigger than just plastic bags. 

What’s really at stake with H.3529 is the ability of our communities to implement innovative ideas and to independently and resourcefully respond to the needs of their residents. This bill seeks to establish that ONLY the General Assembly can establish policies regarding plastics, styrofoam, and other containers. In other words, the bill seeks strip local governments of their local decision-making authority.

There are big differences between Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, Lexington, Beaufort, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and everywhere else in South Carolina. We cannot and should not expect that a local solution created in one community will meet the needs of the other. The rich diversity of our communities is why local decision-making is so critical for our state.

Should this affront to local independence succeed, it would open a door to more efforts that seek to undermine other decisions by local communities. Please, join your voices with those of CVSC, our conservation partners, and communities throughout the state that oppose H.3529. 

It looks as though there will be a full House vote on H.3529 this week. Please, contact your Representative today and ask them to vote against this bill

Thank you in advance for your help to ensure we maintain the ability of our local governments to reflect the fierce independence, resourcefulness, and innovative spirit that embody the South Carolina we love.

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