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Land Preservation:
Bonding Authority for Heritage Trust

Our Position: support
Bill Number: H.4430
Sponsor: Rep. Chip Limehouse (R. Charleston)
Legislative Session: 06

www.scstatehouse.net/cgi-bin/web_bh10exe. H.4430 would provide authority to DNR to sell bonds for the purchase of important habitat, and retire the debt from Heritage trust fund revenue.

Status

Representative Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) introduced H.4430 in the second week of the 2006 session to allow DNR to sell the bonds. This bill, H.4430, would require that bonds sold would be retired using income currently available through the Heritage Trust Fund that is derived from real estate transfer fees. This measure has been widely praised by numerous conservation organizations including SCWF. The bill was referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

This bill has been assigned to the Agriculture Subcommittee, Chaired by Rep. Marion Frye, (R-Saluda).The subcommittee meeting will be held on Thursday 2/9/06, at 8:30 AM in room 410 Blatt Bldg. Contact Mr. Frye.

 

Action Needed

Contact Rep. William D. Witherspoon, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and members of the committee.

This bill has been assigned to the Agriculture Subcommittee, Chaired by Rep. Marion Frye, (R-Saluda).The subcommittee meeting will be held on Thursday 2/9/06, at 8:30 AM in room 410 Blatt Bldg. Contact Mr. Frye.

http://www.scstatehouse.net/members/bios/0624999925.html

More information

 

To see entire bill and a complete bill history click on the following link.

http://www.scstatehouse.net/cgi-bin/query.exe?first=DOC&querytext=4430&category=Legislation&session=116&conid=1764710&result_pos=0&keyval=1164430

Background

Many companies in the forest products industry throughout the nation have made a decision, for business reasons, to sell vast land holdings. This trend has been evident in South Carolina for the last decade as some of the state's largest landowners, like Westvaco, Bowater and, most recently, International Paper have announced large land sales. The International Paper announcement that it will divest of more than 600,000 acres in our state is troubling to conservationists. This sale amounts to about three percent of the land in the state, and is roughly equivalent to the size of Williamsburg County, which is the state's sixth largest county.

A land sale of this magnitude is sure to cause many changes on the landscape of our State. Large, timbered tracts, which are currently home to wildlife, beneficial to water and air quality, and crucial to the aesthetic quality of our countryside will be divided into smaller tracts, sold to investors and eventually many will be developed.

The Sierra Club is very supportive of the efforts currently underway that will allow the State to purchase a part of these lands. This plan calls for the purchase of about 50,000 acres that will be paid from several state sources. These lands will eventually be transferred to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for management. There is a creative plan in the works to pay for this property. This plan involves the use of Heritage Trust Funds that are currently available; a one time state appropriation of $10 million; and granting the authority to DNR to sell bonds using future Heritage Trust revenues to retire the debt. This will allow the immediate purchase of a portion of the available lands while they are on the market.

Governor Sanford, in his executive budget, has requested that $10 million be appropriated for this project. This proposal is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee and will first be studied by a Ways and Means subcommittee chaired by Representative Annette Young (R-Dorchester).

Representative Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) introduced legislation in the second week of the 2006 session to allow DNR to sell the bonds necessary to complete funding for the project. This bill, H.4430, would require that bonds sold would be retired using income currently available through the Heritage Trust Fund that is derived from real estate transfer fees. This measure has been widely praised by numerous conservation organizations including the Sierra Club.

     
     

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