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Our Greenville and Spartanburg offices have closed while Upstate Forever staff work from home to help protect the health of each other, our families, and our communities. But while we are not together in the office, we remain together in our continued efforts to protect our region's critical lands, waters, and unique character.
May 10th, 2019
By Shelley Robbins
We can finally sit back and relax. In the final 48 hours of the 2019 Legislative Session (which ended at 5pm yesterday), both of our solar bills (the Energy Freedom Act and Solar on Superfund) passed and now await Governor McMaster's signature. And they passed unanimously.
Pat yourself on the back. You were amazing. And thanks to you and your engagement with your legislators, the conservation community had one of its best years ever at the Statehouse. I think that is because all South Carolinians love the outdoors, love our special places, love clean air and water, and love leaving a great legacy for our children and grandchildren. The outdoors is what we're all about. Every time you clicked an action link, you sent this message to our legislators, and they listened.
I love the headline in today's Statehouse Report: "BIG STORY: Surprising 'year of the environment' ends in Columbia." Read the full story here. Also this week, Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association announced that the US has surpassed two million solar installations, and we are expected to top four million by 2023. They even highlighted South Carolina in this announcement:
"South Carolina, for instance, was an emerging market in 2016 with 1,160 cumulative installations. Today, the state is home to more than 18,000 solar systems and is expected to add 22,000 systems over the next five years."
With the passage of the Energy Freedom Act, we absolutely will. And every kilowatt we add of solar (soon to be paired with battery storage) is a kilowatt that isn't generated by fossil fuels. Fossil fuel power generation can leave behind polluted land. The Solar on Superfund bill will actually turn polluted land into power generation. How cool is that?
None of this would be possible without your personal advocacy — your clicks, your calls, your e-mails and even your conversations with friends and elected officials when you see them around town. Thank you.
As soon as the dust settles on the remaining issues, including budget items that are important to us as well as a few outstanding issues that will be taken up in conference committee, I will send out a comprehensive wrap-up of every bill we tracked. But I'll keep today's update short and oh so sweet.
Did your senator or representative do something awesome this week? (Hint: They did!) Tell them! Use this link to find out who represents you, and if you love a bill they are supporting, please let them know. You can also just use the link to tell them what is important to you.