State leaders working to preserve land in SC to help with flooding, tourism

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ANDREWS, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster along with Senator Chip Campsen and other state leaders announced a plan to preserve South Carolina land and bolster rural economies. These are a few goals of a bill called the Conservation and Antiquities Act.

The bill aims to double the state’s acres of protected lands by 2050.

It’s a result of a 400-page report published by the South Carolina Floodwater Commission in 2019 that looks into severe weather and flooding the state continues to experience each year. The report provides recommendations for how to address these issues.

“The additional lands protected through the South Carolina Conservation and Antiquities Act will provide a firewall of natural support from flooding and protect some of the most fragile and beautiful lands for future generations,” said Tom Mullikin, the Chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission.

Adding protected lands through the act would also boost the state’s economy through ecotourism and migration.

“We are the second fastest-growing state in the nation and we’re gonna preserve what makes South Carolina great and what makes its people great and what makes its people happy,” said Senator Chip Campsen, who drafted the bill.

Touring outdoor areas and visiting open spaces is an activity that has been increasing in popularity during the pandemic. This bill would ensure that more spaces would be available and accessible to the people of South Carolina and visitors.

Funding for the act will come from a contribution of $.25 for each $1.30 collected through the state deed recording fee to the South Carolina Conservation Bank Trust Fund and dedicates a portion of sales tax revenue collected on the sale of outdoor recreational equipment to support deferred maintenance and land
management needs on public lands managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, SC
Forestry Commission and SC State Parks.

“Rapid land development in our state has led to the loss of forests and farms, wildlife habitats and recreational areas,” commented Senator Campsen. “This solution safeguards our drinking water, protects rural communities and economies, and provides opportunities for citizens and visitors to access open spaces and waterways. Without intentional action, we cannot guarantee these benefits for future generations.”

The South Carolina Conservation and Antiquities Act will be introduced for consideration in the
upcoming legislative session.

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