March 12, 2018

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On February 8, 2018, the SC General Assembly passed A132, R136, H3653, the Manufacturer Liability Protection Act, legislation that limits the ability of residents near manufacturing facilities to claim that the facility is creating a nuisance as long as the facility is following the law and has current permits.  Under the law, a manufacturing facility cannot create a nuisance as long as it (1) is operating pursuant to and in compliance with the requisite licenses, permits, certifications, or authorizations under the applicable federal and state environmental laws and county and municipal zoning and nuisance ordinances; and (2) commenced operations before the landowner alleging the nuisance acquired, moved onto, or improved the affected property.

Governor Henry McMaster signed the bill February 12, 2018, stating that it is “expected to spur economic growth, attract further investment in South Carolina’s communities, and create more jobs.”  The SC Chamber of Commerce praised the legislation.  Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts stated:  “The passage of this bill represents a unified effort between job creators, the legislature, and the Governor to protect existing South Carolina businesses and encourage continued growth in the manufacturing sector.” Conservation groups opposed the legislation, asserting that it offers industries “permanent and complete immunity from any potential litigation-related nuisance,” giving them “free license to just ignore the conversations and feedback from nearby neighbors,” according to John Tynan, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina.