COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley has signed H.4857 — known locally as the coal ash bill — into law, defusing a fight between Pickens County and MRR, a Raleigh-based company that had contracted to build a landfill in the Liberty area.
Introduced in the Senate originally by Sen. Larry Martin, the bill was written in the wake of a fueled debate between members of the Pickens County community, local government, and the recycling company, which had originally agreed to build a construction and debris site but had applied to the Department of Health and Environmental control to dispose of toxic coal ash.
Now state law, the bill changes the state’s requirement from a Class 2 landfill to a Class 3 landfill for the disposal of the energy industry’s waste.
Haley spoke at the signing of the bill into law.
“I am pleased to sign this legislation into law today,” Haley said. “Senator Martin, Representative Hiott and the other members of the Pickens Delegation are to be commended for getting this done. It is absolutely essential that we protect our environment from out-of-state waste, and I’m proud to help bring these much needed protections into law.”
The companies within South Carolina who produce electricity, and the resulting byproduct of coal ash, had already agreed in principle to the change, but the governor’s signature now makes it law for any company doing business inside South Carolina.
Martin, pleased the bill saw passage and Haley’s signature so quickly with the issue still in flux in Pickens County, also spoke following the bill’s signing.
“It was such a pleasure to join with my delegation colleagues in watching Governor Haley sign our bill into law,” Martin said. “Pickens County will benefit from it, as will all of South Carolina’s counties. It provides some important environmental protections for all of our citizens.”
Rep. Davey Hiott of the Pickens County delegation also spoke on the bill.
“I want to thank the Governor for her terrific support in helping us move this important bill into law,” Hiott said. “It has been a team effort. This legislation is vitally important to Pickens County, South Carolina, and for protecting our environment.”
With the removal of the prospect of coal ash reaching Pickens County, all that awaits is a decision from a judicial hearing concerning a suit filed by MRR against the county, its planning commission, and named members of that commission.
Reach D. C. moody at 864-855-0355.