Thursday, April 14, 2011

Annual Conservation Lobby Day

Join us in Columbia for the 8th Annual Conservation Lobby Day on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Hundreds of conservation community members from around the state will travel to the State House to meet, greet and encourage elected leaders to support the Common Agenda priorities. The day begins with a morning briefing at the State Museum, after which the group walks to the State House to speak to legislators about conservation bills. During the afternoon, participants attend committee meetings and enjoy free time to watch green films, participate in a happy hour or tour the city. In the evening partici! pants will attend an informal oyster roast under the stars at the historic Seibels House. Come enjoy the live music and local food with legislative guests. If you only go to the State House once this year to speak to your legislator, this is the day to visit! (Contributions on the day of the event to help cover costs are welcome.)

Agenda

9:00 – 11:35 a.m.
Registration and Briefing
South Carolina State Museum (301 Gervais St.)
11:45- 12:00 p.m.Keynote Address - Gov. Nikki Haley
State House Rotunda (1200 Gervais Street)

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Speak to Legislators
State House Lobby, Second floor

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Lunch
South Carolina State Museum
Sen. Chip Campsen and Rep. Mike Pitts, Speakers

2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Conservation Day Activities and Free Time

5:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Oyster Roast and Local Foods Showcase
Seibels House and Gardens (1601 Richland St.)

To attend, please RSVP to Eugeniap@scccl.org
Hosted by:
American Rivers, Southeast Region, Coastal Conservation League,
Conservation Voters of South Carolina Education Fund, League of Women Voters of South Carolina,
Sierra Club of South Carolina, South Carolina Wildlife Federation,
Southern Environmental Law Center, Trout Unlimited, South Carolina Chapter, Upstate Forever
U.S. Green Building Council, South Carolina Chapter


Event Sponsors:
General Electric, The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, New Belgium Brewing,
Republicans for Environmental Protection, South Carolina Natural Resources Society,
South Carolina Water Quality Association, SunTrust Mortgage




 



Lobby Team Tuesday

Join us tomorrow, as the Sierra Club of South Carolina speaks to legislators about the Common Agenda.  Volunteers are not required to be experts on any issue. We will brief you beforehand and are available to answer questions. This week's lobby team will meet at the Luther Lee Building in downtown Columbia on the corner of Lincoln and Lady Streets at 10:30 am., prior to convening in the House and Senate lobby. Parking is available on the street at blue and green meters, or in the city parking garage located at Lady and Assembly streets. Business attire is required, please. If you’d like to participate in future Lobby Team Tuesdays, contact Debbie Parker at debbie@conservationvotersofsc.org or (803) 799-0716.



In the Senate

Alcoholic Beverage Container (ABC) Recycling (S.461, Sen. Ray Cleary) PRIORITY
S.461 calls for establishments that have a permit for on-site consumption of alcohol to implement a recycling program in the next two years for plastic, corrugated cardboard, aluminum and glass. (The bill provides establishments without access to glass recyclers, 3 years to implement glass recycling.) S.461 also calls for these establishments to develop recycling plans guided by DHEC. Minimal funding will come from the Governor's Task Force on Litter with money going equally to DHEC and the Department of Revenue for implementation and enforcement. Permit applications or renewals are given a 10% discount for 8 years if there is a recycling plan that does not include glass, and a 25% discount for applications and renewals that have a recycling plan with glass. S.461 is on the contested calendar and we will continue to work to address Senators' questions about the legislation. Email your Senator to ask him to support this priority bill that creates South Carolina jobs.
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 the 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 Conservation Bank received $750,000 in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Budget. This funding would ensure that the Bank has the operational funding necessary for the upcoming year, as well as cover a portion of the $3 million in outstanding grants. The full Finance Committee (Sen. Hugh Leatherman- Chair, John Land, Nikki Setzler, Phil Leventis, Harvey Peeler, Dave Thomas, Yancey McGill, John Courson, John Matthews, Billy O'Dell, Glenn Reese, Wes Hayes, Greg Ryberg, Tom Alexander, Larry Grooms, Clementa Pinckney, Mike Fair, Danny V! erdin, Ronnie Cromer, Kevin Bryant, Dick Elliott, Darrell Jackson and Ralph Anderson) will debate the budget Tuesday, April 12 at 3:00 pm in Gressette Room 105. Email your Senator to ask him to support Conservation Bank funding.

Pier Bill (H.3586, Rep. Nelson Hardwick/S.520, Sen. Ray Cleary) MONITORThese bills give local planning and zoning boards the authority to approve pier related amenity structures seaward of the OCRM baseline. H.3586 passed the House unanimously the first week of March and has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. In March, the Senate voted41-1 in favor of S.520. It has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee. H.3586 will be considered by the full Agriculture Committee (Danny Verdin- Chair, Larry Grooms, Phil Leventis, John Matthews, Yancey McGill, Brad Huttto, Dick Elliott  Jake Knotts, Kevin Bryant, Chip Campsen, Kent Williams,  Paul Campbell, Vincent Sheheen, Lee Bright, Tom Davis and Michael Rose) Wednesday, April 13 at 10:00 am in Gressette Room 209.




In the House

Phosphorus Bill (H.3470, Rep. Mike Pitts) PRIORITYH.3470 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. The full Agriculture Committee (Rep. Nelson Hardwick - Chair, Paul Agnew, Nathan Ballentine, Bill Chumley, Tom Corbin, Bill Crosby, Chandra Dillard, Marion Frye, David Hiott, Bill Hixon, Ken Hodges, Patsy Knight, Joe McEachern, Steve Moss, Chris Murphy, Kevin Ryan, Tommy Stringer and Ted Vick) will consider this bill Tuesday, April 12 at 2:30 pm in Blatt Room 410.

Chronic Sewage Polluter Bill (H.3617 by Rep. Mike Pitts) PRIORITY
H.3617 would require any wastewater utility with two spills over 5,000 gallons each in a 12-month period (per every 100 miles of pipe) to undergo a comprehensive audit of what caused the spill and fix the problems identified. This compromise language is supported by the conservation community and the 30 largest South Carolina wastewater utilities as a means of bringing the most chronic violators into compliance. The full Agriculture Committee will discuss this billTuesday, April 12 at 2:30 pm in Blatt Room 410. Email Committee members today to ask them to support this important bill.

Conservation Bank Sunset Clause Removal (H.3083, Rep. Mike Pitts/S.138, Sen .Chip Campsen) PRIORITY
H.3083 removes the Sunset Clause that would end the Bank in 2013. The full Ways and Means Committee (Rep. Dan Cooper - Chair, Rita Allison, Mike Anthony, Liston Barfield, Jim Battle, Kenny Bingham, Bill Clyburn, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Tracy Edge, Bill Herbkersman, Lonnie Hosey, Chip Huggins, Chip Limehouse,  Dwight Loftis, Jim Merrill, Joe Neal, Denny Neilson, Harry Ott, Mike Pitts, Gary Simrill, B.R. Skelton, Murrell Smith, Roland Smith and Brian White) gave H.3083 a favorable report last week, and the bill will next be considered by the full House.

Solar Tax Credits (H.3346, Rep. Dwight Loftis/S.474, Sen. Glenn Reese) SUPPORT
H.3346 establishes a 35 percent state tax credit for the installation of solar energy equipment for both residential and commercial purposes placed in service in taxable years after 2010. This legislation not only promotes renewable energy; it encourages solar installations and creates new jobs. Last week, the full Ways and Means Committee gave H.3346 a favorable report, and it will next be considered by the full House.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (H.3059, Rep. Jim Merrill) SUPPORT
H.3059 extends an existing, state income tax credit of $2,000 for highway-speed, plug-in vehicles. The tax credit has an annual impact cap of $500,000 and is provided on a first-come, first-serve, basis. Within three years, over a dozen hybrid models are expected to be available, providing economic, national security, and environmental benefits.  Last week, the full Ways and Means Committee gave this bill a favorable report, and it will next be considered by the full House.


 

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