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May 2nd, 2023
By Megan Chase-Muller
From celebrating conservation champions at our ForeverGreen Awards Ceremony to testifying at both the SC Public Service Commission and Statehouse, it was a busy week for Upstate Forever. Read below for a recap of what we're advocating for and what to expect for the six days remaining in the legislative session.
Missed last week’s update? Click here for a look at where some of our priorities stand heading into the last weeks of the legislative session.
UF at the Public Service Commission
Last Tuesday, advocates from across the state joined the Southern Environmental Law Center, virtually and in person, to testify in favor of regulations proposed by PSC staff that would protect property rights and increase transparency in building intrastate natural gas pipelines. Click here to learn more about the proposed regulations.
Thank you to everyone who submitted written comments or spoke about their experiences with pipeline construction and eminent domain!
Bill advancement and other actions
During last Wednesday’s Ways & Means Subcommittee hearing, Upstate Forever joined Spartanburg’s Play. Advocate. Live Well. (PAL) and others to testify in favor of the Trails Tax Credit Bill (H.3121). This bill would incentivize property owners to add trail easements to their property, a grassroots way of increasing public access to greenspaces. While this bill did not make the crossover deadline, the favorable report given to this bill signals it is still a priority for legislators and will hopefully pass quickly when they return next January.
Another bill that passed out of the same subcommittee was the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit (H.3824). As we discussed back in February, this bill would grant income tax credits to municipalities, state agencies, individuals, or businesses that install EV charging stations at fuel distribution or dispensing facilities.
Market Reform Study Released
The long-anticipated report from the Electricity Market Reform Study Committee was released to the public last Friday. This joint committee of Representatives and Senators has been meeting for over a year to discuss pathways our State can take to better prepare for the growing demands for clean, affordable energy. The Committee’s consultant, the Brattle Group, presented their findings today (Monday, 5/1) and a short menu of options for the Committee to consider to make decisions about how the state’s electric utilities should purchase, distribute, and plan for electric generation. Co-chairmen Senator Tom Davis and Representative Jay West have already committed to meeting over the summer and fall to develop legislative recommendations. Read the final report here.
Celebrating 25 years at UF - ForeverGreen Awards
Last Monday, Upstate Forever hosted our annual ForeverGreen Awards Luncheon to celebrate the year’s successes and to honor individuals who have made remarkable contributions to conservation and sustainable growth. This year’s honorees included Representative Chandra Dillard and SC Chief Resilience Officer Ben Duncan - Click here to watch a video about each of these honorees.
If you were unable to join us in person, we invite you to experience ForeverGreen 2023:
With just two weeks left, we could use your help in advocating for our conservation priorities. Consider reaching out to your legislators to voice your support for at least one of these bills that have made crossover (click on the link for more info):
Until next week...
State Policy Director
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