Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Current Issues | Position | Archives

CURRENT ISSUES

Offshore drilling:  We support S.870 and H.3087; both would protect S.C. from the damage that would be caused by offshore drilling.

Public Service Commission Reform: We support H.4776, which will prohibit commissioners from being employed or retained by a public utility for a period of three years following their service at the Commission. 

Wildlife Protections: H.4831 (“The Turtle Bill”) is moving through the Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee in the Senate. It will protect native reptiles and amphibians from the illegal wildlife trade. A second version of the bill (S.885) sits in the same committee. Senators will review which bill should move forward. 

Santee Cooper: we want a 100% clean energy commitment from Santee Cooper. Transitioning to 100% clean energy will lower bills, create jobs, and protect us from air and water pollution. Please sign our petition calling for a 100% clean energy Santee Cooper if you haven’t yet.

Solar Access: H.5011 and S.1032 will ensure that homeowners have reasonable access to rooftop solar by limiting the ability of Homeowner Associations to create anti-solar rules.

Savannah River Site (SRS) Cleanup:  LWVSC Comments, July 2019: An independent arm of the Department of Energy with a mission of "Preventing nuclear weapons proliferation and reducing the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism around the world .." has made an astounding proposal to produce plutonium pits for warheads at SRS. This new mission for SRS, with a history of both on- and off-site contamination elsewhere, received support from over 20 community representatives the United Way, mayors, chambers of commerce, etc. The League opposes this proposal and supports site cleanup. SRS Plutonium Pits Proposal 

Savannah River Site Nuclear Waste Update for LWV/SC CONVENTION, May 2019. Good news about the Mixed Oxide Plant and tank cleanup, very troublesome proposal to build warhead pits at SRS, and status of international high-level waste shipments from Germany and Canada to SRS. Convention on SRS Nuclear Waste Issues

 

POSITION

LWVSC supports:

1.  Ensuring to the citizens of South Carolina fullest possible public participation in significant state and federal decisions relative to environmental and energy matters. This should include, but is not limited to, hearings in the state capital and in all locally affected areas.

2.  Ensuring that federal facilities located in South Carolina comply with state and federal environmental laws.

3.  Independent safety oversight at federal nuclear facilities.

4.  Development and implementation of state solid and hazardous waste policies that protect groundwater, air quality, human health and native biota.

5.  Strong and well-enforced coastal zone management laws and regulations to ensure preservation of areas of critical concern. The coastal zone should be given a greater level of legal protection.

6.  Establishing one state governmental agency (or investing an existing agency) with the power to develop and implement energy policies that would give appropriate consideration to all energy-generating sources. The citizens of SC should be represented in this proposed energy policy-making agency.

7.  An environmental impact process for South Carolina that would mirror the national process, promote our overarching goal as stated above and ensure the fullest possible public participation.

8.  Changes in the state’s natural resource agencies and overall management that would best meet the criteria established under #1 and #4 Structure of State Government position.

9.  Changes in state law to remove the mandate for the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to carry out conflicting missions: protection of public health and the environment and promotion of economic development. Similar changes should be made in the SC Atomic Energy Act.

10.  Establishing of criteria for membership on the DHEC board to ensure varied expertise, representation of South Carolina’s varied stakeholders, and freedom from conflict of interest.

11.  Promoting land use and water resource policies that manage land, water and nature biota as finite resources and that incorporate principles of stewardship and other land use planning strategies at both the state and local level.

12.  Requiring state officials to incorporate environmental compliance history as criterion for awarding permits.

13.  Intentional and collaborative growth management on a county and regional basis in South Carolina. We encourage regular consultations among public agencies related to growth and development and local elected bodies—city councils, county councils, and school boards. We also encourage an open and frequent dialogue between those agencies and the general public on growth management. We support the concept of managing growth to preserve and enhance quality of life for all residents, old and new, through the effective and coordinated use of such land use management tools as conservation easements, purchase of development rights, development impact fees, and zoning where appropriate.


ARCHIVES

Legislative concerns 2017-18:

Consistent with LWVSC and LWVUS studied positions, the LWVSC supported and opposed, as indicated below, the following legislative initiatives in the SC legislature.

1. opposed off-shore drilling.

2. supported the continuance and establishment on firm financial footing of the Conservation Bank.

3. supported a Clean Power plan that values energy efficiency and encourages power from solar and wind.

4. supported legislative reform to result in evenhanded funding of needed repairs and improvements throughout the state.

5. supported monitoring efforts to improve infrastructure and regulations important for handling severe weather events.

6. supported protecting citizens' rights to enforce clean up of past pollution.

7. supported upholding the Automatic Stay provision that prevents harmful and irreparable development from taking place before permitting appeals are decided.

8. supported the addition of a Western Capacity Use Area to help control groundwater withdrawals.

9. supported DHEC accountability for the Pinewood hazardous waste site, and supports funding for maintenance and monitoring.

10. supported the designation of a baseline that will prevent development from moving closer to the ocean and opposes special exemptions for seawalls.

11. supported promoting an Environmental Bill of Rights, which, if passed through a referendum, would become part of the SC Constitution. 

NUCLEAR WASTE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, An Issue Brief for South Carolina Citizens, League of Women Voters of South Carolina, December 13, 2013

FIRST ISSUE BRIEF, IN 1997 Dr. Mary T. Kelly, a chemist and Natural Resources Director for the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, authored a ground-breaking document The Aging of the Nuclear State: A Survey of South Carolina's Nuclear Utilities which described the nuclear industry in South Carolina. Dr. Kelly wanted to uncover the facts and particularly to focus public attention on the leaking tanks of neglected high-level waste at what is now called the Savannah River Site (SRS).

Resources re groundwater withdrawal permitting and capacity use areas:
(Nov. 2018) Article from Aiken Standard on Western Capacity Use Area
(Aug. 2018)
Well Water Levels - 25 year Trend
(Oct. 2018)
Capacity Use Groundwater
2010-2018 Aiken City Consumption
SC Groundwater Fact Sheet