Natural resources in South Carolina are one of our most valuable assets. We have miles of beautiful beaches, spectacular mountain ridges and vistas, winding and serene rivers and waterways, swamps, wetlands and forests of national renown, all supporting diverse wildlife.
The health of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of our natural environment, which provides valuable ecosystem services. Those services include mitigating flooding and providing wildlife habitat for recreational and commercial uses.
In addition to sustaining our economy, natural resources play an integral role in our spiritual and physical well-being by providing open spaces in which to recreate and rejuvenate, as well as maintaining healthy water quality and quantity.
It is well documented that vulnerable communities are often located in the most dangerous zones of our floodplains, or in regions that are exposed to toxic pollution sources: coal-fired power plants, open-air lagoons, nuclear waste facilities, megadumps and other polluting industries.
Fairness and inclusion for all people, regardless of group identity, with respect to environmental law and decision-making is the most systemic approach to achieve equitable outcomes, while improving our state's regulatory system, especially given the history and continuing legacy of racial discrimination.
Our lives and quality of life are increasingly dependent on the health of our ecosystems. As the impact of climate change intensifies, we have an obligation towards our children and their children to do everything we can to advance environmental protection and justice across our state.