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Sometimes a legislator’s actions are not simply captured in a floor vote or committee report. When legislators go above and beyond to advocate, support, or champion our conservation issues, we think it’s important to document that support and give them due praise.

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2015-2016

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Many thanks go to Reps. J.Smith, Taylor, Hodges, Herbkersman, Newton, G.M. Smith, Merrill, Bamberg, Ballentine, R.L. Brown, Henderson, and Whipper who introduced H.3564 in 2015 to address weaknesses in our Surface Water Withdrawal and Permitting Act.

We are also grateful for Senators Campsen, Hayes, and Young for their support of reform.

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Sen. Hutto offered a friendly amendment to S.165 in committee, effectively nullifying the intent of the proposed bill (to eliminate the all important auto-stay). Thanks to Sens. Hutto, McElveen, and Johnson, who helped us avoid a vote on the Senate floor.

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In 2015, Sen. Johnson filed a minority report in the Senate Judiciary Committee to help delay S.229 from progressing through the Senate.

Sen. Hutto introduced a friendly amendment to S.229 that weakened the impact of the bad bill, making a compromised attainable. We thank all of our Senate champions for their help: Sens. Campsen, Sheheen, Courson, McElveen, Scott, Kimpson, and Sabb.

 After a two-year fight over S.299 in the House Judiciary Committee, we thank our champions for sticking up for citizens’ rights to hold polluters accountable: Reps. Brannon, Newton, J. Smith, Rutherford, Bernstein, W. McLeod, and Powers Norrell. 

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Senators Lourie, Jackson, and Sheheen helped us avoid a vote on the Senate floor for S.228 by objecting to the bill, which would have significantly increased legal expenses for anyone appealing permit decisions and reduced the DHEC Board’s accountability.

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Representatives Beal, Henegan, Whipper, Gilliard, Clyburn, Hosey, Mack, and McKnight introduced H.4894, an environmental bill of rights that would have allowed local governments to enact environmental regulations more protective than state laws.

Reps. Neal, Henegan, Whipper, Gilliard, Clyburn, Hosey, Mack, and McKnight also supported H.4985, a similar bill that would have established citizens’ environmental property rights.

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Representatives Bingham introduced H.4945 with a super-majority of House members co-sponsoring the bill. The bill mirrored Senator Campsen’s S.519 to reauthorize the Conservation Bank, extend the sunset provision, improve the death clause, and increase funding by $0.05 in the deed stamp recording fee.

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Representatives J.E. Smith and Robert Brown introduced an amendment to the budget bill (H.3701)to increase funding for the conservation bank. Although this was eventually tabled, we thank Reps. Smith and Brown for their efforts on this important issue.

We also thank Senator Nikki Setzler and Representative Bill Clyburn for working diligently on the budget conference committee to secure Bank funding.

As a stalwart champion of the Conservation Bank, Senator Campsen introduced S.519 that would extend the sunset, add the additional 5 cents and improve the death clause.

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Representatives Bill Herbkersman, Peter McCoy, Kirkman Finlay, James Smith, Leon Stavrinakis, Russell Ott, Doug Brannon, and Weston Newton led the effort to establish a permanent baseline for seaward development (H.3378). Senators Ray Cleary, Marlon Kimpson, Chip Campsen, John Courson, Thomas McElveen, and John Matthews led on this issue in the Senate (S.139).

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We thank the Senators McElveen and Johnson  as well as Representatives Murrell Smith and Joe Neal – for leading on the effort to focus State resources on keeping pollution out of Lake Marion from the Pinewood hazardous waste site.

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Representative David Hiott (House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee Chair), Senator Larry Martin (Senate Judiciary Chair), Representative Gary Clary and Representative Neal Collins responded to citizen concerns about the threat of coal ash pollution and introduced bills to prohibit coal ash from being dumped in Class 2 (unlined) landfills and require disposal in safer class 3 landfills (H.4857/S.1061).

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