Monday, February 14, 2011

Show your Support for Clean Water

Conservation Voters of South Carolina

Join us at the State House, Tuesday, February 15th at 2:30 p.m. to show your support for clean water! A House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee will discuss two priority conservation bills that would help prevent sewage and phosphorus from polluting our lakes and rivers. We want to pack the room to show legislators that South Carolinians want a clean and healthy environment for our families! We need the Representatives to hear from as many people as possible so they pass the bills to full committee. Please take a moment to call or email the Subcommittee members and ask them to “support the Three Strikes Sewage Polluter Bill (H.3617 by Rep. Mike Pitts) and the Phosphate Bill (H.3467 by Rep. Dwight Loftis).”Rep. Tom Corbin [R] - Greenville CountyEmail him (Home) 1139 Bailey Mill Rd., Travelers Rest, 29690 Home Business (864) 834-9915(State House) 522D Blatt Bldg., Columbia 29201 Bus. (803) 212-6891
Rep. Patsy Knight [D] - Dorchester County
Email her
(Home) P.O. Box 673, St. George, 29477
Home. (843) 560-2200
(State House) 306B Blatt Bldg., Columbia, 29201
Bus. (803) 734-2960

Rep. Steve Moss [R] - Cherokee County
Email him
(Home) 104 Rains Road, Blacksburg, 29702
Home. (864)-839-3135
(State House) 418D Blatt Bldg., Columbia, 29201
Bus. (803) 212-6885

This Subcommittee meeting will be the only opportunity the public has to testify and comment on the necessity of these major 2011 Conservation Common Agenda priorities!  If these water quality bills do not pass Tuesday, they will be dead for the 2011-2012 legislative session. So it’s imperative that we show our support now!

If you plan to attend Tuesday’s meeting, email Debbie Parker Seating will be limited, so try to come early- around 2:30 p.m. The meeting starts at 3:00 p.m. in Room 410 of the Blatt Building, on the corner of Assembly and Pendleton Streets.

Again, if you can’t go to the Subcommittee hearing, please contact Subcommittee members. Call their home phone number on Monday or their State House number Tuesday. (Tuesday they return to the State House in Columbia.) Let’s call on polluters to clean up their act! We’ll see you Tuesday.

Background information:

Phosphate Bill (H.3467 by Rep. Dwight Loftis)

  • Protects South Carolina water quality by prohibiting the manufacture, use and sale of detergents containing phosphate over 0.5%

  • Removes automatic dishwasher exemptions for household and commercial use from existing law

  • The household detergent industry is already moving in this direction. This bill would provide assurance that the change occurs

  • The science: Phosphorus is a nutrient that causes algae blooms, which eat up the dissolved oxygen in the water, causing fish kills.

  • Last year, the bill unanimously passed the House and similar bills have been passed in 15 other states across the country.

Three Strikes Sewage Polluter Bill (H.3617 by Rep. Mike Pitts)

  • This bill would require any utility with three spills over 5,000 gallons each in a 12-month period to undergo a comprehensive audit of what caused the spill and fix the problems identified.

  • The negative effects of sewer spills can be tremendous considering the effects on public health and on our coastal waters. Communities, businesses, and the tourism industry suffer greatly and are affected at every level.

  • This legislation would protect public health from exposure to untreated or partially treated sewage spills.

  • Most of South Carolina's water utilities have an excellent performance record; only a handful of utilities are giving this sector a bad name, and this bill would address these chronic polluters.

*We’d like to thank the Representatives who have signed on as co-sponsors to these important bills.Click here to find out who your Representative is, see if they've signed on, and email them to thank them for supporting these bills:
*Phosphorus Bill (H.3467) Co-Sponsors: Rep. Dwight Loftis, Gene Pinson, Chip Limehouse, Don Bowen, Chandra Dillard, Shannon Erickson, Deborah Long, Elizabeth Munnerlyn, Mike Pitts, Paul Agnew, Joan Brady, Bakari Sellers, Ted Vick and Karl Allen
*Three Strikes Sewage Polluter Bill (H.3617) Co-Sponsors: Rep. Mike Pitts, Robert Brown and Karl Allen

Lobby Team Tuesday

Join us tomorrow, as League of Women Voters of South Carolina come to Columbia to tell legislators why clean water is important to them and their communities. Volunteers are not required to be experts on any issue. We will brief you beforehand and are available to answer questions the entire day. Weekly Lobby Teams meet each Tuesday at the Nickelodeon Theatre at 11:00 a.m., prior to convening in the House and Senate lobby. Volunteers will then attend the House Agriculture Subcommittee meeting at 3:00 p.m.

The Nickelodeon Theatre is located at 937 Main Street, Columbia, on the corner of South Main and Pendleton streets behind the State House. Parking is available on the street at blue and green meters, or in the parking garage located at Lady and Assembly streets. Business attire required, please. If you’d like to participate in future Lobby Team Tuesdays, please contact Debbie Parker at or (803) 799-0716.

In the House

Phosphorus Bill (H.3467, Rep. Dwight Loftis) and Three Strikes Sewage Polluter Bill (H.3617by Rep. Mike Pitts) PRIORITYH.3467 would prohibit the use, sell or manufacture of dishwashing detergents containing phosphates, a harmful chemical found in our lakes and rivers. Phosphorus is already banned in 15 states because it kills fish and lowers recreational revenues and home values. And H.3617 would require any utility with three spills over 5,000 gallons each in a 12-month period to undergo a comprehensive audit of what caused the spill and fix the problems identified. Both of these priority bills will be discussed by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee (Rep. Paul Agnew- Chair, Tom Corbin, Patsy Knight and Steve Moss) Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 3:00 p.m. in Blatt Room 410.

Natural Resource Agency Funding- PRIORITY
Forestry, agriculture, outdoor recreation and tourism account for $54 billion, or about one-third, of our economy. That’s over 450,000 jobs, or 25% of all jobs in South Carolina. However, the combined budgets of South Carolina Agriculture Department, Forestry Commission, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism account for less than one percent of the state budget. The House Ways and Means Proviso Subcommittee (Rep. Roland Smith- Chair, Kenny Bingham, Tracy Edge, Chip Limehouse, Jimmy Merrill, Mike Pitts and Brian White) will consider budget provisos at its meeting Tuesday, February 15 at 10:00 a.m. in Blatt Room 521Email your legislator and ask him or her to support natural resource a! gency funding.

Commercial Center Revitalization Act (H.3604, Rep. James Smith) SUPPORT
Introduced last week, H.3604 encourages the retrofitting of shopping malls and centers into dense, walkable, mixed-use town centers. This resolution promotes responsible development policies and a human habitat that is accessible to more South Carolinians while lessening environmental impacts on the state. It has been assigned to the LCI Committee.

In the Senate

Prescribed Fire (S.501, Sen. Ronnie Cromer) SUPPORT
S.501 provides greater protection for landowners who choose to conduct prescribed burns on their property, and promotes the most efficient and cost effective forest management tool within South Carolina. The Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Subcommittee (Sen. Yancey McGill- Chair, Paul Campbell, Chip Campsen, Creighton Coleman, Mike Fair and Kent Williams) gave this bill a favorable report last week and sent it to the full Committee (Sen. Ronnie Cromer- Chair, John Land, Yancey McGill, Dick Elliott, Brad Hutto, Chip Campsen, Jake Knotts, Mike Fair, Kent Williams, Paul Campbell, Larry Grooms, Danny Verdin, Vincent Sheheen, Creighton Coleman, Shane Martin, Mike Rose and Phillip Shoopman) which will discuss S.501 Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 10:00 a.m. in Gressette Room 308.

Solid Waste Landfills (S.356, Sen. Danny Verdin) MONITOR
This bill would alter the order for the permitting of solid waste landfills by requiring the applicant to get the siting approved on environmental grounds before making a determination of need. A Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee (Sen. Danny Verdin- Chair, Kevin Bryant, Shane Martin, Floyd Nicholson and Clementa Pinckney) will discuss this bill Thursday, Feb. 17 at 10:00 a.m. in Gressette Room 207.

Click here to view the 2011 Conservation Common Agenda Priorities brochure.

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