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Legislative Priorities (01/20/2013) PDF Print E-mail
Legislation - Conservation Priorities

Legislative Priorities


Conserving our Water

Water is South Carolina’s lifeblood.  Natural wetlands store water in times of drought, reduce flooding during storms and provide wildlife habitat. Our iconic Carolina Bays and wetland depressions are currently at risk.

An alternative to protecting wetlands with regulations would be to add an additional share of the existing deed recording fee for the Conservation Bank to either purchase or place voluntary easements on iconic Carolina Bays and natural wetlands. Water fuels our future. DNR and DHEC must be adequately funded to monitor water quality, measure flow and manage the watersheds that enrich and drive our economy. State agencies should develop Best Management Practices to accommodate future needs and urge local and regional water suppliers to reduce waste by upgrading aging infrastructure. Our public and private utilities should ensure that coal ash ponds are not leaking pollution into our rivers and drinking water supplies.


Conserving our Land

South Carolinians instinctively know that conservation is conservative. Our family traditions are out of doors:  hunting on opening day, fishing for bream in a favorite pond, paddling a black water stream, hiking a mountain trail or watching birds in the backyard.

When DHEC is efficient and transparent, there is more respect for regulations that protect the clean air and clean water that we take for granted. When DOT overhauls its decision making process to ensure accountability and promote a “fix it first” policy, there will be more support for funding. When it comes to waste, we must reduce landfilling and increase recycling. The bottom line: South Carolina is not the nation’s pay toilet. We reject proposals for “interim storage” of more than 70,000 tons of high level commercial nuclear waste at Savannah River Site.

 

Creating a Clean Energy Future

Give us the Sun.  Legalizing “third party” sales of solar generating panels will allow the free market to thrive. Solar leasing would help homeowners, churches, schools, military installations and hospitals acquire solar energy with dramatically reduced upfront costs and immediate monthly savings.

Energy efficiency remains South Carolina’s first fuel. We support proposals from the Green Schools Caucus to reduce school energy use and operational costs and save taxpayer money. Because we  lag behind other states in adopting a state-wide energy policy, the decisions made by the Public Service Commission determine whether our electric utilities are investing in an energy future that makes the most economic and environmental sense for South Carolina. The General Assembly has the responsibility of electing the most qualified Public Service Commissioners. Lastly, we support renewable, safe alternatives to South Carolina's dependence on environmentally unfriendly and unsafe fossil fuels and nuclear power.

 

Safeguarding Existing Environmental Protections

As stewards of our air, land and water, we must defend existing environmental protections. Our economy prospers when rules and regulations are clearly stated and fairly enforced.

We believe it is important to uphold the 2008 “automatic stay” agreement. This provision protects citizens’ rights and prevents irreversible damage by halting work on contested projects until an appeal can be heard in court; it also requires timely decisions from the courts. For the thousands of permits issued by DHEC in a given year, automatic stays delaying development projects are rarely issued. Allowing a disputed activity to move forward without the protection of the automatic stay would compromise a clearly articulated Constitution right.