Currently, a bill designated as H. 3290 is before the Senate Medical Affairs Committee in the South Carolina General Assembly.
What started out as a local issue involving only Horry County has now been amended and would adversely affect all 46 counties in the state of South Carolina.
The effect of this bill is to remove from the citizens of the counties and the county officials, the ability to make decisions regarding the quality of life of citizens, the natural resources of the county, and community health; in short, the counties will no longer be able to determine where solid waste will be deposited and how much can be deposited, and where it comes from.
H. 3290 reads, in part, as follows: “To the extent that a County ordinance requires that disposal of waste at one or more designated solid waste facilities or requires recovered materials to be processed or recycled at any one or more designated facilities, the ordinance is void.” The bill effectively eliminates any concept of home rule by the county and its citizens when it comes to how solid waste disposal and recycling are to be done. Any county ordinance requiring how and where solid waste would be disposed of would be null and void, as would any ordinance as to the tonnage of such waste.
The bill also strips the counties and its citizens of any control of where solid waste comes from, which means it can come from out of state. Already, 25 percent of what goes into South Carolina landfills comes from out of state. One hundred percent of the out of state garbage goes to out-of-state waste disposal companies such as Waste Management, Inc. and Republic Services, Inc., the latter of which maintains “Mount Trashmore,” a mountain of garbage which towers over the farm lands of rural Lee County and receives de-watered human waste from New York City.
If H. 3290 passes, the volume of out-of-state garbage dumped in South Carolina will increase dramatically.
H. 3290 nullifies any power the individual counties have to designate the location of solid waste and recycling facilities, which can have disastrous environmental implications including harm to delicate ecosystems, habitat and the preservation of the state’s wildlife.
Moreover, if counties can no longer designate that waste be disposed of at one of its own facilities, which its citizens have paid for, the result will be a gross waste of taxpayer money and potentially the loss of jobs of local employees employed by county facilities.
H. 3290 will negatively impact the counties’ ability to pay for outstanding bonds or secure bonds or bond ratings for future projects.
The question is this:
Are the counties and their citizens better equipped and better motivated to make decisions concerning environmental, economic, health and quality of life decisions than out-of-state, special interest solid waste disposal companies? South Carolina counties and their citizens should be able to rule their own backyards and make decisions about where their garbage goes.
Please contact your South Carolina state senator and ask the senator to vote “No” on H. 3290.
Donald R. Moorhead is chairman of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.