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Mar 18 2021

Op-Ed: Coastal Conservation League

By Betsy La Force for The Island Connection

Last week, the fight over loopholes for big plastics and oil industries continued when the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee considered Senate Bill 525, which would exempt an unproven process known as pyrolysis from our state’s solid waste regulations. We witnessed two hours of robust discussion on the technology of melting plastic waste, but the bill unfortunately passed out of committee with an 11-5 vote.

The good news is that thanks to enormous public outreach, the committee amended the bill to reflect some of the concerns the environmental community raised.

But the amendment did not resolve our primary concern around companies providing financial assurances to cover cleanup costs in the event of a crisis. Until this technology has demonstrated viability, it should be the industries that are held accountable if something goes awry at a factory, not the citizens of South Carolina.

So we will not rest until that critical bonding safeguard is included in the bill language.

We still need your help.

This bill could be taken up soon by the entire Senate. So please continue

reaching out to your senator to let him or her know how important financial assurance mechanisms are for any kind of industry, especially new technology that no one knows for certain will succeed.

The General Assembly should prioritize people and public health over potential profit.

Please join us in thanking several senators that stood out from the pack and spoke out to do the right thing for South Carolina. Senators Sandy Senn, Marlon Kimpson, Mia McLeod, Kevin Johnson, and Shane Martin posed great questions highlighting the importance of requiring financial assurances for unproven technologies coming to our state.

They also raised concerns about companies building large industrial plants close to residential neighborhoods and the possibility of plastic melting plants to be operated by companies with bad track records.

In case you missed it, check out the editorial the Post and Courier ran on the issue over the weekend.

Thank you for your engagement on this important issue and your commitment to protecting the landscape of South Carolina for generations to come. Your support really makes a difference.

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