Conservation League â–
Volume 19 No.4
illustration by V. Cullum Rogers
A New Kind of Reservoir
Oil & Offshore Drilling
Trashing Williamsburg County
From the Director Conservation and Business Leadership A Defining Moment for South Carolina's Water and Energy Resources
STAFF ____________________ outh Carolina’s economy rests on the twin foundations of water and energy. The debate over these resources in the upcoming legislative session will provide a window into the minds of the state’s business community. The issues are straightforward. South Carolina is one of the few states in the nation that does not regulate water withdrawals from our rivers, lakes and streams. This approach was perfectly adequate until our rivers ran dry and our lakes evaporated during the recent and ongoing 10-year drought. Virtually everyone agrees that successfully preserving our water resources requires that we put South Carolina’s house in order and pass legislation to rationally allocate water use and withdrawal. Everyone, that is, except the “business community.” I use quotes here because based on last year’s legislative debate, it seems the business community consists of a handful of lobbyists representing the Manufacturers Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce and the electric utilities. What they believe is that no meaningful restrictions should be placed on water use. Last year, a few big businesses and utilities worked assiduously to defeat water flow recommendations developed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR hydrologists had proposed standards that would maintain river levels adequate for fish and other aquatic life to survive during periods of low flow. Instead, these businesses and utilities promoted standards that would allow 80% of the river flow to be consumed
by industrial users. They killed the prospect of water withdrawal legislation for 2008. Last year’s performance on water has implications for this year’s debate over water and energy. One of the most active opponents of reasonable water withdrawal standards was North Carolina-based Duke Energy. Duke will also be a major force in the discussion of moving South Carolina out of the unenviable position of being the fourth least energy-efficient state in the nation. All of this brings me to the subject of leadership. Duke’s CEO is Jim Rogers, a smart lawyer with an international profile on environmental issues. He serves as co-chair of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency and the Alliance to Save Energy. He also serves on the board of directors and the Executive Committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Jim and Duke Energy are not alone among South Carolina businesses in professing a commitment to sustainability. GE, BMW, DuPont, BP, Google and others have taken steps within their own companies to use resources more responsibly, and they have gained a considerable amount of goodwill from their pledges to protect the environment. This year will be a defining moment for these business leaders. Will they allow their corporate positions on water and energy to be shaped and represented by State House lobbyists who have consistently resisted even the most modest efforts to moderate the use of water? Or will they assume the responsibility of leadership on issues that are critical to the future of South Carolina’s environment, its economy and its quality of life. We’ll know in less than a month.
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REGIONAL OFFICES _____ ________________ South Coast
North Coast Columbia
Patrick Moore Reed Armstrong Andrea Malloy Nancy Cave Grace Gasper Patty Pierce Heather Spires
Director of Conservation Programs Program Directors Project Managers
Director of Communications Communications Manager Newsletter Editor
Megan Desrosiers Nancy Vinson Ben Moore Josh Martin Hamilton Davis Lisa Jones-Turansky Jim Cumberland Art von Lehe Alex Dadok Brian Barrie Gretta Kruesi Virginia Beach
DEVELOPMENT _____________ _______ Director Membership
Nancy Cregg Alison Geer
Director of Administration HR and Admin. Director of Finance Data Manager Technology Administrator Administrative Assistant Development/Finance Assistant
Cathy Forrester Tonnia Switzer Ashley Waters Nora Kravec Robert Malone Angela Chvarak Amanda Watson
Board of Directors Laura Gates, Chair Bill Agnew Mary Kennemur Will Cleveland Fred Lincoln Berryman W. Edwards Cartter Lupton Dorothea Benton Frank Roy Richards Vince Graham Gillian Roy Richard T. Hale Jeffrey Schutz Hank Holliday Libby Smith Holly Hook Victoria C. Verity George Johnston Trenholm Walker
Advisors and Committee Members Paul Kimball Hugh Lane Jay Mills
P.O. Box 1765 ■ Charleston, SC 29402 Phone: (843) 723-8035 ■ FAX: (843) 723-8308 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.CoastalConservationLeague.org P.O. Box 1861 ■ Beaufort, SC 29901 Phone: (843) 522-1800 935 Main Street, No. 1 ■ Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 771-7102 P.O. Box 603 ■ Georgetown, SC 29442 Phone: (843) 545-0403 All contents herein are copyright of the Coastal Conservation League. Reprinting is strictly prohibited without written consent. Design by Julie Frye Design.
Cover illustration by V. Cullum Rogers
The board and staff of the Conservation League gathered on the piazza of Charleston’s William Aiken House in 1991.
Just two weeks before Hurricane Hugo struck in the fall of 1989, Jane Lareau, Marie Thrower and Dana Beach took possession of 400 square feet of office space in the William Aiken House on upper King Street in Charleston. With three desks discarded from a branch bank (which are still in use), a couple of phone books, and Dana’s home computer, they launched the Coastal Conservation League.
Both Jane and Dana had worked as volunteers on environmental issues in their native Palmetto State. They both understood the need for a full-time professional environmental advocacy organization in the face of enormous development pressures bearing down on South Carolina. But on September 22nd, the morning after the hurricane nearly twenty years ago, they wondered whether anybody would care what happened to the coastal environment. Would the devastating property damage and loss of thousands of acres of forests from Mt. Pleasant to McClellanville instill a sense of permanent apathy among coastal residents? To the contrary, Hurricane Hugo made people realize how much they valued their shared natural resources. Public commitment to protect and restore the environment emerged even stronger. Within a few months, the Coastal Conservation League had 300 loyal, dues-paying members. In 1989, people were concerned about rapid, poorly planned growth on the coast and the damage being done to the environment. But there was
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little understanding of what could be done to reverse this trend. Most people believed that environmental decline was a byproduct of progress. Today, a very different perspective prevails. Coastal residents no longer accept loss as inevitable, and they realize that their involvement in planning and environmental policy will determine what the coast looks and feels like decades from now. Today, the Conservation League’s 4,000-plus members, dynamic and dedicated board of directors, numerous partners in the conservation and business communities, and expert 30-member staff have propelled community activism and environmental protection to a whole new level in South Carolina. Our 2009 Legislative Agenda, set forth in the following pages, bears witness to today’s climate of proactive collaboration. Meanwhile, stay tuned for special 20th anniversary events as well as the publication of a series of commemorative newsletter issues. The League's success is your success; and we look forward to celebrating together in the coming months.
Immediate Results On August 1, 2007, residents of Orme, Tennessee turned on their taps and nothing came out. For 21 hours they had no water service. Due to historic drought conditions, water service was reduced to just 3 hours a day. The town resorted to trucking in 30,000 gallons of water per day at nearly twice the cost of their public water supply. To address the situation and restore water service, members of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute donated and installed water-efficient toilets, fill valves, showerheads, aerators and sinks in all Orme homes, reducing water consumption by 45% – an average savings estimated at $528.20 per year per household on their public water supply rates. Thanks entirely to the retrofits and other small repairs, Orme was able to quadruple the number of hours of water supply in just 3 days. - from Hidden Reservoir: Why Water Efficiency is the Best Solution for the Southeast
WHAT COLUMBIA, S.C. COULD BE SAVING
Population of Columbia – 390,000 residents Current Water Consumption – 98.5 million gallons per day (MGD)
U U U
Columbia could save between $45 million and $100 million by pursuing water efficiency to secure water supply, as compared to building new dams. Water efficiency measures could yield between 18 and 27 MGD, a 18-27% savings. This water savings could provide water for 75,000 to 120,000 new residents.
- from Hidden Reservoir: Why Water Efficiency is the Best Solution for the Southeast
Reservoirs Can Lose More Water Than They Capture The capacity of a reservoir is diminished by evaporation, which constantly removes water from the reservoir. This means that at times, reservoirs can lose more water than they capture, making them a liability in terms of securing water supply. Lake Lanier, the primary water source for Metro Atlanta, lost an estimated .2 inch of water, or 194 million gallons, to evaporation on a single day, June 11, 2008 — nearly 30% of Metro Atlanta’s daily use. - from Hidden Reservoir: Why Water Efficiency is the Best Solution for the Southeast
A New Kind of
RESERVOIR ater efficiency should be the backbone of local, state and national water supply strategy. The “reservoir” is already in our bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms just waiting to be tapped. It makes economic, ecological, and common sense. With the policies outlined below, communities could secure between 20% and 35% new water supply to support sustainable growth at a fraction of the cost of other supply options, such as dams and conventional reservoirs. A new report from American Rivers, entitled Hidden Reservoir: Why Water Efficiency is the Best Solution for the Southeast, calls on local governments and utilities to adopt water efficiency policies. The report outlines nine proven, timely and cost-effective steps that local leaders can take to save water and help ensure their rivers remain community assets.
Stop leaks: Leaks should be fixed to stop more than six billion gallons of water being lost each day in the U.S. Price water right: Water should be priced to cover costs, encourage efficiency and ensure access to clean drinking water. We can do this, and still provide water for low-income residents at a reduced rate. Meter all water users: Water meters must be installed on all new homes, multi-family apartment buildings, and businesses so water users can measure and monitor their consumption. Retrofit all buildings: If all U.S. households installed water-efficient fixtures, the savings could supply all southeastern states with their entire public water supply. Landscape to minimize water waste: On average, U.S. homes consume 30% of their water outdoors watering lawns, thirsty plants and trees. Increase public understanding: Communities should educate the public about smart, simple water efficiency solutions and their own water use patterns. Build smart for the future: Designs should capture and reuse storm water and gray water. Return water to the river: A portion of water efficiency “savings” should be returned to the river to serve as a “savings account” for a not so rainy day. Involve water users in decisions: Involving water users encourages higher rates of efficiency.
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State Must Act to Safeguard Water Supply Between 1960 and 2000, demand for water in S.C. rose nearly 1,000% – 3 times more than surrounding states and far more than the 60% increase in population. - The National Wildlife Federation
Border Battles decade-long drought, rising demand for water from an expanding population, wasteful water habits, and the lack of any limits on how much industries, utilities and municipalities withdraw from our public waterways, have backed South Carolina into a precarious position. As water shortages start to crop up, the state has no ongoing efficiency and conservation measures in place to help replenish supply. And while North Carolina and Georgia seek to divert and withdraw even greater amounts of water from our shared river boundaries, South Carolina has little leverage to negotiate. Unlike our neighbors, we do not regulate our own instate water withdrawal. Lately, South Carolina is feeling the pressure on not one, but two of its borders. To the north, suburbs of Charlotte want to pump up to 10 million gallons of water per day from the Catawba River, which becomes the Wateree River in South Carolina. The Tarheel State is already diverting water from the Catawba/Wateree River Basin, a system which provides nearly half the water that flows into Lakes Marion and Moultrie – source of drinking water for most of the Lowcountry and a supply that is already stressed due to drought. Attorney General Henry McMaster has filed suit against North Carolina in the
It's All Connected – Thermoelectric power generation accounts for 80% of the fresh water usage in S.C. Reducing electricity consumption can save water as well as make us more energy efficient. U.S. Supreme Court to prevent further depletion. On its southern border, South Carolina has been negotiating with Georgia for the past three years over water rights to the Savannah River. Governors of the two states formed the Savannah River Bi-State Task Force to work together to make their water regulations consistent. Their job is to determine how much water each state can take from the river and how much treated waste each can put back in.
Managing a Precious Resource It’s tricky, because the Savannah River and the Upper Floridan Aquifer are intricately intertwined. Presently, the aquifer is at risk due to overuse, with freshwater levels dropping, which allows saltwater to intrude. Municipalities from Savannah to Hilton Head prefer to pull drinking water from the aquifer C OA S TA L C O N S E RVAT I O N L E AG U E
because it’s cleaner and cheaper to treat than surface water from the river. But municipal utilities may be forced to switch to the river, which is not only more expensive, but also requires careful monitoring and regulation, since freshwater levels of the Savannah directly impact the health of the Floridan Aquifer below. In response, the Coastal Conservation League and the 26 member organizations of the Common Conservation Agenda have given high priority to work with the 2009 General Assembly to pass legislation establishing a surface water withdrawal permitting program for South Carolina. In addition, it will be incumbent upon the state and local communities and their utilities to implement water efficiency and conservation measures in order to shore up South Carolina’s limited supply of clean fresh water.
S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources
Energize South Carolina Independence Through Innovation Over the course of the summer and fall, staff members from the Coastal Conservation League’s Energy and Climate Program and our legislative liaisons in Columbia worked with the state’s conservation community in a planning process to develop priority legislative initiatives to address South Carolina’s energy and climate needs. Many of these priorities were derived directly from the recommendations of the Governor’s Climate Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee (CECAC). They focus on aggressive energy efficiency proposals that achieve the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost (or greatest benefit) to the state’s economy. Other priorities address immediate needs of the nascent renewable energy market in South Carolina.
@iStockPhoto.com/José Luis Gutierrez
South Carolina has an enormous potential for energy savings through the implementation of efficiency measures that will benefit both producers and consumers. Our state enjoys some of the lowest electricity rates in the country, yet citizens pay some of the highest bills. Through a
Wind Power – South Carolina has tremendous untapped potential in its offshore wind resources.
Build for Tomorrow Today South Carolina’s residential building code laws have not been updated since the early 1990s. Moreover, they prohibit our state from utilizing the most current energy efficiency codes
U The United States has 3% of the world’s oil reserves yet consumes 25% of global production.
U It is estimated that South Carolina has 14 million barrels of
About Oil & Offshore Drilling @iStockPhoto.com/Mark Evans
1% annual reduction in total electricity and natural gas use by 2015 (1.5% by 2020 for electricity), homes, businesses, and state government can reduce their monthly and annual expenses on energy without sacrificing comfort, reliability, or productivity.
Our taxes, our quality of life, and our future energy security are at stake
oil offshore. The U.S. uses 19 million barrels in a single day (about 16 hours worth).
U According to the Department of Energy: - Drilling will not reduce prices at the pump. - Drilling will not reduce our foreign dependency.
U The onshore impacts and infrastructure necessary to support this industry are substantial: - Most of the oil spilled during hurricanes and from careless operations do not happen way out at sea around oil rigs. They happen inshore and onshore, within coastal communities. - These communities become saddled with refineries, added truck traffic, and pollution.
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Clarify South Carolina’s Energy Policy South Carolina’s energy policy should be updated to reflect a 21st century energy future, one that strengthens the state’s commitment to home-grown renewable energy resources (including South Carolina’s tremendous offshore wind capacity), encourages acquisition of the state’s substantial energy efficiency resources, and ensures that South Carolina’s energy choices result in the greatest environmental, social and economic benefit to the state and its citizens.
Allow Utilities to Explore Alternative Energy Recognizing the need for greater homegrown renewable energy resources to reduce our state’s foreign dependencies and to control rising energy prices, utilities should be given the authority to
- As a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, over 8 million gallons of oil spilled from refineries and storage facilities into the local waterways along the Gulf Coast. - As a comparison, Exxon Valdez resulted in a spill of 11 million gallons. - This summer, 100 miles of the Mississippi River shut down for weeks as a result of a 400,000gallon spill.
U The amount of idle land that the oil companies now lease that is not producing totals some 68 million acres, plus many more millions of
immediately pursue renewable energy projects. @iStockPhoto.com/Dirk Richter
adopted by the National Building Codes Council. Instead, South Carolina is limited to standards developed more than 30 years ago. South Carolina law should be amended to reflect advances in building technology and establish modern minimum efficiency building code standards for all residential construction.
Re-establish the Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Fund The S.C. Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Fund that provided planning, demonstration, and research and development grants for offshore wind, biomass, solar, geothermal, and small hydropower projects should be reinstated. First established in 2007 for the purpose of developing innovative renewable energy projects and businesses that would benefit South Carolina, this fund has already been a great success in bringing about our state’s home-grown energy future. However, the enacting legislation was struck down on a technicality by the S.C. Supreme Court on June 23rd, 2008. Allocated funds and projects are on hold until the fund is re-established.
Lead by Example Through the passage last year of H.4766, state government offices and universities will now “lead by example” by meeting energy efficiency goals to reduce our state’s annual consumption of energy. Progress is already being made towards
acres currently available for leasing offshore: - The reason for all of these reserves sitting there idle comes back to how the economics of this industry have changed dramatically. - We have gone after the cheap, easyto-get stuff. What’s left requires much more energy and capital investment to recover. - High gas prices are actually a necessity to even make it economically feasible to pump a lot of what’s left out of the ground.
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Up on the Roof – South Carolina must set state standards to facilitate installation of solar panels for homes and businesses. meeting these goals. Renewable energy targets, aimed at encouraging state government and universities to acquire renewable energy for 1% of their power needs by 2012 and 10% by 2025, should also be implemented this year.
Ensure Solar Access For Everyone A state standard that guarantees South Carolina’s homeowners and businesses the freedom to implement solar energy should be adopted. The effort will ensure citizens and businesses the ability to install solar power on their property, with exception for installations that are visible from the ground or on historically significant structures.
U The oil and gas industry is heavily subsidized ($15 - $35 billion per year) by taxpayers and we have to begin addressing this if we are to develop alternatives that actually compete in the marketplace: - Therefore, the playing field is not level for alternative fuels to be able to compete. - Some estimates place the actual cost of gas at over $10 per gallon when external costs are factored in.
SETTING PRIORITIES ... wenty-six organizations from across the state, representing more than 46,600 members, are teaming up to identify and promote legislative priorities for the 2009 General Assembly, which begins on Tuesday, January 13th. While these groups may vary in their unique missions, they share a common goal of promoting a clean, safe and healthy South Carolina. Conservation leaders met over the summer and through the fall to study proposals and identify legislative priorities. Special issue teams also met with key legislators in the House and the Senate as well as constituencies outside of the conservation community to develop a 2009 Common Conservation Agenda. The aim of the Common Agenda is to promote the following conservation goals in the upcoming legislative session and to ensure that these goals are translated into meaningful legislation:
■ Water Use (Water Withdrawal Permitting Legislation) ■ Energy Efficiency (Energy Savings Targets; Modernized Building Codes) ■ Renewable Energy (Portfolio Standards; Infrastructure Fund; Solar Access) ■ Conservation Bank (Increased Land Protection Funding) ■ Water Quality & Conservation (Tiered Water Rates; Stream Buffers; Clean Up Polluted Waters) ■ Clean, Healthy Air (Clean Up Diesel Particulate Pollution from Ships & Trucks)
Conservation Leaders Summit – Thanks to the collaboration of South Carolina’s conservation leaders – shown here at a statewide meeting in November – today conservation issues are some of the most talked about subjects in the lobby of the State House. S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources
Common Agenda for Conservation