NATIONAL ISSUES

[Image Description] SCWF's Ben Gregg talking conservation with Senator Lindsay Graham in DC, along with Mark White of Orvis.

[Image Description] SCWF's Ben Gregg talking conservation with Senator Lindsay Graham in DC, along with Mark White of Orvis.

SCWF works closely with the National Wildlife Federation to engage our supporters on issues of national significance. SCWF monitors these issues and partners with other state affiliates of the NWF to be sure our voices are heard.  

Public Lands

Our national public lands are one of the defining features of America. They include our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, wilderness areas and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. They’re America’s “big backyard,” where people of all social, economic, political, racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcome.

The National Wildlife Federation, its 50 state and territorial affiliates and 6 million supporters and members, are a diverse group of hunters, anglers, hikers, wildlife watchers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts united in our passion for protecting public lands. These lands provide amazing outdoor experiences and habitat for fish and wildlife populations and are sources of clean air and water.

Learn more about our public lands initiative HERE.

STATE ISSUES

[Image Description] A group of citizens stands on the S.C. State House steps.

[Image Description] A group of citizens stands on the S.C. State House steps.

The South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) works with legislators to protect precious wildlife habitat and ensure that sound scientific data is used to make decisions which affect wildlife.  Our Government Relations Manager, Trip King, represents the SCWF, as well as our conservation partner, Audubon South Carolina (ASC) at the State House.  

Below is a summary of issues we are currently watching at the South Carolina State House:

Re-authorization of the South Carolina Conservation Bank

In 2018, the South Carolina House of Representatives and State Senate re-authorized the South Carolina Conservation Bank making it a permanent fixture within our state government for the first time since its inception in 2004.  The Bank will never need to be re-authorized again. In 2019, the search is on for an Executive Director for the Bank, and the legislature is discussing its budget now.

Photo by Amanda Johnson  [Image Description] A view of a waterfall looking up.

Photo by Amanda Johnson

[Image Description] A view of a waterfall looking up.

Over the past several years, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, along with our advocacy partner Audubon South Carolina, has played a significant role in advancing Conservation Bank re-authorization legislation and working to secure its final passage by the General Assembly. Numerous reforms and operational improvements suggested by SCWF/ASC were incorporated into the final version of the bill and we remain committed to insure that the Bank is adequately funded by the General Assembly in the coming years now that dedicated funding from the deed recording fee has been removed from the equation.

Plastic Bags, Auxiliary Containers and Home Rule

Senator Scott Talley (R-Spartanburg Co.) and Senator Wes Climer (R-York Co.) introduced a bill S.394 which would prevent local governmental bodies from regulating the use of plastic bags in the future but it would, if passed, supersede any existing ordinance designed to regulate the use” of plastic bags and auxiliary containers. 

Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Drilling

Photo by Laurie Walden  [Image Description] A dophin’s tale halfway out of the water.

Photo by Laurie Walden

[Image Description] A dophin’s tale halfway out of the water.

While primarily a federal issue, both Governor McMaster and SC’s Attorney General, Alan Wilson have both openly opposed off-shore exploration and drilling.  In the Legislature, several bills have been filed that would prohibit the ability for oil and gas companies to locate the infrastructure necessary to support the offshore gas and oil industry.

SC Floodwater Commission:

This past October, Governor McMaster created by executive order the SC Floodwater Commission in order to initiate a state-wide effort designed to mitigate the increasing impact of floods within the state.   The commission is comprised of state agency heads, experts in hydrology, climate change and others with particular expertise in flood control and mitigation.

Energy Reform

Energy Reform bills have been introduced to both the house and senate which would open up South Carolina’s energy marketplace in order to encourage the growth of solar energy.  A Clean Energy Coalition has been formed which includes both members of the conservation and solar communities. 

SC Resilience Revolving Fund

Senator Stephen Goldfinch (R-Georgetown) has introduced bill S.259 which would create the SC Resilience Revolving Fund to be housed in the SC Department of Natural Resources. The Fund would support local governments in leveraging federal funds to reduce the risk of life and property during periods of flooding.  The bill is currently residing in the House Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

Turkey Season

SCDNR has presented a report to the Legislature, “Wild Turkey Resources in South Carolina” which proposes to change the turkey hunting season and bags limits in order bring back a dwindling wild turkey population. SCDNR has recommended two options for the General Assembly to consider that would alter the current March 20-May 5 turkey season.

South Carolina Conservation Coalition

SCWF is an active member of the South Carolina Conservation Coalition, a membership driven group of some 40 conservation-minded groups.  This group sets a common agenda in the fall each year, and has worked together on several of the above issues during the 2019 session.

 

updated: 03/27/19