As the legislative session moves forward, we are beginning to tackle tough issues. Committee meetings are in full swing with lots of activity on the issues we care about. Here’s an update on our “hotlist”:
- The Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee passed S.228 (DHEC Board Review) and S.229 (Polluter Amnesty) to the full Medical Affairs Committee. We expect a committee vote soon, so please contact your Senator on the committee. We oppose both bills because they will erode our ability to hold polluters accountable.
- We support attempts to implement recommendations of the DHEC Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management (BRC) in H.3378, introduced by Rep. Herbkersman. We will fight attempts to diverge from the BRC recommendations with amendments to protect special interests, like Kiawah developers, and are closely monitoring S.139 in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. We support a clean version of S.139. We hope we can manage our shoreline with a common sense approach.
- As a member of the SC Rivers Forever Coalition, we worked with our partners and legislative champions this week to host a press conference on Wednesday to introduce H.3564, to reform the Surface Water Withdrawal Act. Our current law does not require permits for large agriculture withdrawals like it does for municipal and industrial withdrawals. Agricultural users register their withdrawals without the environmental safeguards required of others. This process is not protective of our rivers and gives DHEC and DNR little to no authority to manage our river systems wisely. We propose in H.3564 to treat all large users pulling water from our rivers the same. We should have a fair system that doesn’t pick the winners and the losers. Please tell your Representative to support H.3564 and check out our campaign: www.scriversforever.org.
To follow the priorities and action alerts of the Conservation Coalition, please check out our website.