The head of a non-profit environmental group has no problem with Governor Haley touting South Carolina’s business-friendly atmosphere, but she hopes Haley would be more vocal concerning industries’ responsibility of being good stewards in protecting the state’s environment.
Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) Executive Director Ann Timberlake said she realizes that bringing more industry in the state is important for job creation, but just as important is the proper care and protection of the state environmental assets and Governor Haley has to do a better job in carrying out her constitutional obligation where the environment is concerned.
“It’s great to bring in a Boeing and we love the fact that Boeing has solar panels on its roof, but to really go forward we believe building on our natural resources is the way to go and the governor really ignores that.”
CVSC recently gave Governor Haley a “D” grade on her report card for being silent on a number of environmental issues.
Timberlake told the South Carolina Radio Network that Aiken County residents expressed concern in a recent hearing with DHEC involving the 3700-acre Walther Potato Farm which has received permission to draw up to 9 billion gallons of water from the Edisto River’s South Fork. Timberlake said Governor Haley should be out in front on such issues.
“We have this controversy about taking water out of the Edisto River that would jeopardize the health of that whole ecosystem, and the governor has been silent. That’s her home turf; she grew up near the Edisto River.”
The south fork of the Edisto River forms the northern border of rural Bamberg County where Governor Haley spent her formative years.
Area citizens are concerned that such a withdrawal of water from the Edisto would hurt the local ecosystem and adversely affect small farms in the area. The Edisto is known as the longest free-flowing black water river in North America.
Timberlake said she would like to see the governor be more vocal on issues that DHEC should be stronger on, for example getting tougher on repeat polluters.
“Businesses may not like that, but we believe that the businesses that are not polluting deserve a break. It’s not really fair if they are following the rules and some of their competition is not.”