Issues

Protecting our Environment and Driving our Economy

“James Smith has done more for environmental protection and citizens’ rights to protect South Carolina’s natural wonders than any other lawmaker in the history of this Chapter’s work in this state.”

–Susan Corbett, South Carolina Sierra Club

James and Mandy will be the strongest champions of the environment ever to serve as governor and lieutenant governor in our state. Examples of what they will do:

  • Push for clear energy and a fair deal for ratepayers.
  • Protect our beaches from oil drilling and exploration.
  • Guard our finite supply of fresh water.
  • Conserve wildlife.
  • Prepare the low-lying parts of our state for the next flood.

Clean Power and Fair Rates: James is the primary sponsor of the bipartisan bill that would lift the restrictive cap on solar power – a bill that, despite bipartisan majority support, was stopped when the big utilities got the rules changed at the last possible minute. Clean energy isn’t just good for the planet and our health; it creates jobs in technology, installation and management that cannot be outsourced. Clean energy also increases our energy independence. Once elected, James and Mandy will push ahead with their comprehensive, 21st-century energy policy for South Carolina, one that strengthens our state’s economy with more and better jobs and lowers costs for consumers, and keeps our environment clean. And they will protect ratepayers against the bullying greed of the big utilities.

Protecting our Coast: James and Mandy understand the importance of our 19-billion-dollar tourism industry, and will fight tooth-and-nail to block oil drilling and exploration off our coast. “Our coastline is our treasure, a magnet to visitors and businesses drawn to our beaches, marshes and ports,” he says. “It’s hard to imagine a greater threat to our state’s economy than drilling off our beaches.”

Clean Rivers: Fresh water is vital for all life, and a precious resource for the prosperity of our state. James has been committed to protecting South Carolina’s waterways from pollution and depletion for his entire legislative career. He has co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would require mega-farms withdrawing 3 million gallons or more a month to get permits, just as industries now do. We cannot allow any one user to threaten the water supplies that we all share.

Protecting Wildlife and Providing Recreational Lands: Hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation is a $16.3 billion industry in the Palmetto State that employs 151,000 people – more than the automotive and aerospace industries combined. James has been a leader in making sure that our state’s diverse wildlife populations have places to live, and people have public lands for outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing. He has been a tireless advocate for the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Hundreds of thousands of acres of irreplaceable forests, wetlands, streams and wildlife areas have been protected for future generations.

Coastal Flooding: Hurricane Florence is a fresh reminder that South Carolina’s coastal communities have flooded repeatedly in recent years. This has caused millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses and tragically disrupted people’s lives. Coastal flooding threatens not just individual homes and businesses: it disrupts tourism, which is our state’s largest industry. It threatens vital infrastructure such as the port of Charleston, and critical military facilities such as Parris Island. Not a single one of our statewide elected officials – all Republicans – has stepped forward to help solve this problem. James will marshal the state’s resources to help address this challenge. He will launch a task force of key state agencies and representatives of local governments. We need a real plan to tackle this problem that threatens the prosperity of the entire state.

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Because of these positions and others, James has been enthusiastically endorsed by the South Carolina Sierra Club. It was the first time in its history that the club had endorsed a gubernatorial candidate BEFORE the primary election.

“James Smith has done more for environmental protection and citizens’ rights to protect South Carolina’s natural wonders than any other lawmaker in the history of this Chapter’s work in this state,” said Susan Corbett, current chapter vice chair and former longtime chairwoman. “It’s not just his work to advance renewable energy, protect ratepayers, promote enforceable water standards and oppose offshore drilling; it’s his work on the ground which he has done day-in and day-out to stop tremendously bad legislation from being enacted throughout the years that also matters.”

James was also endorsed – before the primary – by the Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

Also this year, the Environmental Education Association of S.C. named him Legislator of the Year.