We're hiring

Upstate Forever is seeking a Land Stewardship Coordinator to join our Land Stewardship and Restoration Team in early 2023.

Read More +

Legislative Updates 2022: February 7 - 11

February 14th, 2022
By Megan Chase

Have you received our Legislative Updates in your email inbox in the past but are no longer seeing them? Please check your spam or junk mailbox and if you are still have trouble receiving our emails, contact us at info@upstateforever.org.


WEEK 5 IN THE STATEHOUSE

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • News from the Statehouse 
  • What to expect this week

As we enter Week 6 of the Legislative Session, we continue to see progress on many conservation priorities, which is honestly the best kind of valentine. 

Missed last week's update? Click here for a deep dive on the Conservation Enhancement Act.


NEWS FROM THE STATEHOUSE

Funding moves forward

The American Rescue Plan Act Authorizations funding bill, H.4408, moved out of House Ways and Means, carrying with it funding for transformational projects in resilience and water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure. W&M leadership divided funding decisions into two phases, so we were pleased to see funding for these critical initiatives included in Phase I.

Land protection bills gain support

H.4956 - The SC Conservation Enhancement Act was filed in the House as a companion to Senate Bill S.1039Click here to read last week’s spotlight on this legislation that would create substantial revenue streams for land conservation and calls for a doubling of protected lands by 2050.

S.1051 - The Mine Permitting Bill was filed in the Senate as a companion to House Bill H.3892, which would prohibit DHEC from permitting mines within two miles of public parks and greenspace. You can read more about the impact of this legislation in this week’s article from the Post & Courier. Convinced this bill would do some good? Use this Action Center to ask your representative to support this legislation.

Introduced Bills

S.1049, filed last Tuesday, proposes to improve sections of the SC Pollution Control Act regarding air emissions. This bill could vastly improve air quality in many regions of the state by: 

  • prohibiting air emissions (from regulated sources) that create a nuisance,
  • establishing air contaminant nuisance criteria,
  • requiring DHEC to oversee enforcement, and
  • requiring permittees to install equipment to minimize odor-bearing gases and particulate matter.

What to look out for this week

Tuesday (2/15): A House Environmental Affairs Subcommittee will take up two bills:

  • S.596 the Plastic Pellet “Nurdles” Pollution bill (learn more from the Coastal Conservation League and take action here).
  • H.4778 – a bill that designates rights to return flows from entities who store water in reservoirs operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, meaning electric utilities on Lakes Hartwell and Russell in the Upstate would have exclusive rights to water that is returned to the lake after it’s used for cooling or other processes.

You can watch that hearing here. I don’t have a time, because it is scheduled to begin “immediately upon adjournment of the House Ag Subcommittee,” which is scheduled “one hour after adjournment of the House” ...as you do.

Wednesday (2/16): The House Ways & Means Subcommittee will take up budget provisos, which are lines in the state budget that give temporary authorizations to expend state dollars and are usually inserted into the budget by individual legislators. If you’re like me and are fascinated by the budget process, you’ll watch that hearing here at 9 am.

Thursday (2/17) at 10 am: The full Senate Medical Affairs Committee is scheduled again to take up S.219 - the PFAS bill. You can watch that hearing here. Have you contacted your legislator to ask for their support of this bill? If not, you can use this action alert to contact your legislator. 

Not sure where to start? Last week we provided an easy-to-use guide for contacting legislators.

Until next week...

Megan Chase
State Policy Director


ODDS AND ENDS AND ACTIONS:

Would you rather receive these weekly Legislative Updates in your inbox? You can sign up to do so right here. The Legislative Update will hit your mailbox every Sunday evening during session (January through May).

Did your senator or representative do something awesome this week? 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.

Error Message