Thirty-eight of the state's 46 county councils have passed resolutions opposing H.3290 -- a proposed state law that would ban local governments from restricting solid waste disposal to county-owned landfills.
“It is extraordinary for 38 counties to take the time to pass a resolution on a single subject with council agendas as crowded as they are," Joe Branham, president of the South Carolina Association of Counties, said in a news release issued by the Don't Dump on SC coalition . "This level of activity reflects the widespread impact of the flow control legislation and the importance of defeating that bill. These resolutions represent just a fraction of the intensity against flow control legislation."
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, has already passed the House. But opponents are blocking the bill in the Senate.
The bill is in response to Horry County, which in 2009 passed an ordinance saying all solid waste -- residential, commercial and industrial -- could only be disposed of in a landfill owned by Horry County.
This angered business leaders. In May, the presidents of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance and the S.C. Chamber of Commerce wrote in an op/ed on thestate.com:
"First, generators of construction and demolition debris have been forced to pay higher prices to process and dispose of their waste because they can no longer send it to a private competitor that offers a lower price. Second, the private competitor has suffered significant financial losses, and most of his employees have lost their jobs. How many businesses can survive when their government-owned competitor can regulate them out of the market?
But environmental leaders say the bill would just expand the out-of-state trash coming into South Carolina. In April, Ann Timberlake, executive director of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, wrote in an op/ed on thestate.com:
"H. 3290 would undo ordinances and contracts used by local governments to direct where your garbage goes after it leaves your curb. Labeled the "flow control bill" because it would prevent public ordinances and franchise agreements from managing the "flow" of waste, this bill is a brazen attempt by out-of-state waste corporations to privatize South Carolina’s waste business."
Local governments can and do regulate their own landfills, since it’s in the public’s interest to avoid filling them up quickly with out-of-state garbage. Privatization may appear to be beneficial, but the net result is more and more smelly waste from New York and North Carolina buried in your backyard.