A state Senate panel heard messages of support to continue funding for the South Carolina Conservation Bank, a state agency which helps buy and protect land from development.
State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, told a Senate budget subcommittee Tuesday that the state’s population and economic growth must not ruin the natural reasons for its success. “It’s also important that we kind of not strangle the goose that laid the golden egg in the process,” he said.
“The Conservation Bank is a means. I like to say to do conservation through negation and compensation, not by regulation,” Campsen told the committee. “It respects property rights, at the same time preserving our natural resources.”
The agency helps secure grants to buy land or easements for protection from mass development. The bank said it has protected more than 280,000 acres since it was authorized in 2002.
The bank’s authorization expires in June 2018, but supporters are pushing for re-authorization this year to secure its future. Some critics question if there’s still a need for the bank, given the amount of land it has helped protect the past 15 years.