The South Carolina Generally Assembly ended its 2014 term in early June, having considered a number of proposed bills with environmental implications. In a March 27th blog post, we summarized several key environmental bills then before the House and Senate. Now that the 2014 term has come to a close, the fate of many of these bills has been determined.
Amendments to the Pollution Control Act: In March we reported that a proposed amendment to the Pollution Control Act’s Savings Clause provision was in the Senate’s Committee on Medical Affairs. The amendment would eliminate the ability of third parties to bring an action under certain limited circumstances to enforce the PCA. Since that time, the Committee has issued its report. On May 20th, a majority of the Committee ruled favorably on the bill. The bill was subsequently sent to the State Senate but not voted on this term. The Senate may return to the bill when it reconvenes for the 2015 term next spring.
Solar Energy: On June 2, 2014, Governor Haley held a ceremonial signing for S. 1189, the S.C. Distributed Energy Resource Program Act, which allows citizens more affordable access to solar energy by permitting them to lease solar panels for their homes or businesses rather than having to pay the higher costs associated with purchasing and paying upfront for installation of the panels. Additionally, the bill ensures that residents who generate solar electricity and sell the energy back to the power grid will receive a fair price.