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5 things you can do now

1. Get involved. Voice your opinions at DHEC meetings and hearings. Its board meets in Columbia the second Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. DHEC’s address is 2600 Bull St.

2. Get on DHEC mailing lists. DHEC doesn’t publicize many of the meetings it has, but it will put people on mailing lists about certain issues they’re interested in. You can also visit the agency’s Web site: www.scdhec.net

3. Call DHEC. If you’re concerned about DHEC actions, let officials know what you think. Reach Commissioner Earl Hunter at (803) 898-3300. Reach chief spokesman Thom Berry at (803) 898-3885.

4. Talk to legislators. If you think DHEC can do better, give your local legislator ideas on how to do that.

5. File a Freedom of Information Act request. If you can’t get complete answers about subjects you’re interested in, formally seek agency files by contacting its Freedom of Information Office at (803) 898-3880. You’ll be told how to file a formal FOI request. Make sure to find out whether there is any charge — for copying or research — before the request is processed. Charges are supposed to be minimal. You can get a copy of the state FOI law at www.scpress.org/foia.html

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