Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Conversations with Conservationists

Senators Phil Leventis and John Courson hosted Conversations with Conservationists on Wednesday January 13th at the Gressett Building in Columbia. attended the breifing, which consisted of 5 conservation advocates speaking to the public, and our state senators, about a host of conservation topics that are important to everyone in the state, including sportsmen.

While only 5 speakers presented, they represented over 30 agencies that were in attendance at the briefing. The five key areas that were touched on were public health, water matters, protecting natural resources, land protection, and clean energy. Among the points these speakers made were that some of South Carolina’s waterways have up to 7 times the amount of acceptable mercury levels in them, what we can do to change that, and what a negative effect that has on not just water quality, but fish and irrigation as well.

One speaker, Dr. Harry Shealy, a professor at USC-Aiken and chairman of the Conservation Voters of SC, informed the audience that about 200 acres of forest and wetlands is currently being transitioned to developed land per day. He urged our senators to increase funding for purchasing some of this land to keep our state from losing these valuable resources.

Cary Chamblee, lobbyist for the SC Camo Coalition, informed that the organization is a staunch supporter of the proposals made during the briefing. He stated these initiatives, like the Clean Water Act, will help everyone—sportsmen, our wildlife, our businesses, and tourism into the state.

Each presenter ended with asking our senators to take up action through introducing bills and pushing for funding to better handle these environmental shortcomings.

PhotosByBrianCope: Senator Phil Leventis speaks with constituents after the briefing. Hamilton Davis of the Coastal Conservation League urges the panel to increase funding for developing clean energy sources within the state of South Carolina.

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