Politics

Guest Column: South Carolina Isn’t A Red Or Blue State; Its A Green State

South Carolina state government these days is quite the enigma, definitely unique, and not necessarily in a good way …

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by DIANE HARDY

In many ways, South Carolina truly is a “red” state. Our citizens by and large lean conservative, sharing the values of personal and economic freedom. Our state-level government often mirrors those values on social issues – and now on the Second Amendment, for example, with the recent passage of Constitutional Carry. But we surely are not a “red” state like Florida, and we aren’t a blue state like California or Illinois.

So what are we?  

South Carolina has a Republican supermajority at the State House yet ranks as one of the most liberal of all GOP legislatures in the nation. Why is that? Perhaps it is because we aren’t a red or blue state but a “green” one – as in Green New Deal policies.  

We see evidence of SC being a strongly “green state” everywhere from the state level of government all the way down to the local. A perfect example is our commerce department’s website.

“We offer a variety of sustainability credits, encouraging and rewarding companies prioritizing green and sustainable operations initiatives,” it notes.

We see it with various organizations such as Sustain SC, with its goal of carbon neutrality, and Charleston Green Plan – A Roadmap to Sustainability.

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This has been going on for years, but the Green New Deal offensive has been turbo-charged in recent years. It has taken on greater significance for citizens and small business owners as many of these deals have federal dollars attached and/ or are with multi-national corporations – both of which often demand DEI and ESG compliance.

There’s no clearer example of the green agenda at work in South Carolina than when we watched our legislature vote overwhelmingly last year to FAST TRACK a $1.3 billion incentive package for VW/Scout to make electric vehicles. How this deal was crafted – and the process by which it was passed in less than two weeks – was really something! This deal is one of dozens of economic development packages given to EV’s and related supporting industries such as batteries and battery disposal. This deal flew through our legislature, despite the fact our state’s incentive package awarded to Proterra Electric Bus Manufacturer in 2010 was a colossal failure – with Proterra eventually declaring bankruptcy.

If you pay attention, you will see examples of our “green state” values everywhere. 

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The Green New Deal agenda comes at a cost.

RELATED | GROUP ADVISING S.C. LAWMAKERS MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

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We see it when the S.C. Department of Administration hires an agenda-driven global Consulting Group to advise the legislature on how best to restructure the state’s health care agencies. A consulting firm with very strong ties to the World Economic Forum, the WHO, the Gates Foundation, and which has a stated goal of advancing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Given all of this maybe it’s not surprising that getting meaningful ESG protections through our State House proved to be too challenging. Perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked when governor Henry McMaster decides NOT to join 19 other governors and sign on to a multi-state alliance in rejection of ESGs.   

We also see it outside of government, for example when the Riley Institute at Furman hosts a three-day climate action event hosted by Al Gore (introduced by former GOP congressman Bob Inglis) in celebration of California’s gas-powered vehicle ban and championing the use of Inflation Reduction Act funds to further “climate justice.” We scratch our heads when we see a noted “conservative/libertarian” state senator Tom Davis as a featured speaker. 

We see it in our state-funded universities, with the University of South Carolina ranking as the third-worst university in the nation for free speech. Perhaps we aren’t supposed to care that USC’s website describes their vision as “a culture of sustainability that embodies the triple bottom line of Environmental Resilience, Economic Prosperity and Social Justice in all aspects of our teaching, research, service and operations.”

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(Note: it seems like RESILIENCE may become the new branded word for much of this ideology. We clearly aren’t red like Florida when there is great difficulty in limiting DEI funding to Clemson and other universities.)

We even see it in local government which could hinder public safety, like when the City of Greenville police department makes unprecedented changes to its core values by ranking “supporting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives” as its number one core value and “reducing serious crime” at No. 2.  Additionally, the department decided to allocate financial resources to a Chief Diversity Officer paying double what a new police officer is offered.  

You sure have to feel for folks who move here from out of state thinking we are this “ruby red” state only to discover that is not the case. So, what now? Well, for starters, South Carolinians will need to put in the time and effort needed to change this trajectory, creating the accountability that will yield the governance that reflects their values, or we will need to give up on the illusion we live in a “red” state and accept that we really live in a “green” one.   

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Diane Hardy

Diane Hardy is a former nurse anesthetist turned entrepreneur, who opened a franchise at Verdae in Greenville over seven years ago. She is executive director of the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC, which she founded during Covid upon discovering South Carolina’s almost 400,000 small businesses had little representation in our State House. The Alliance provides education, communication, and advocacy for SC’s family-owned businesses. Her passion for South Carolina’s small business is strong, and as such she donates her time to the organization, accepting no salary or government funding.  Her love for our state isn’t new.  Before launching the Mom and Pop Alliance she was the founder and host of The Palmetto Panel (2014-2019), an annual statewide conference highlighting issues impacting South Carolina.  Diane has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and psychology from Michigan State as well as a master’s degree from MUSC.

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3 comments

Hiane Dardy March 29, 2024 at 10:23 am

SC does not have any mandated or even unenforced goals to reduce the use of fossil fuels or lessen greenhouse gas emissions. The state is still using the 2009 energy code for construction. There are almost no states incentives or tax credits for consumers that purchase energy efficient equipment. It has one of the lowest EV adoption rates in the country. Solar is a pretty small part of the electricity generation mix, despite SC having some of the best opportunities for it in the country. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked it the 49th state for energy efficiency in its last evaluation (2022). I could go on and on…

Anyone who truly thinks SC has bought into “green new deal” policies is completely clueless and living in an anti-woke conservative bubble. I would challenge Mrs. Hardy to write an article for once without using the terms “ESG” or “DEI” but I don’t think she’s capable.

Reply
Hiane Dardy March 29, 2024 at 10:28 am

And of course, I’d be remiss to not mention that the legislature is attempting to rubber stamp the construction of a new gas plant with no clear plan on how pipelines will be constructed to deliver the gas, while also reducing the power of the public and environmental groups at the PSC. I mean, how does someone come up with an article like this without living an absolute fantasy land?

Reply
Ralph Hightower Top fan April 2, 2024 at 10:49 pm

South Carolina will give away millions to bring jobs to the state. The only green that they are interested in is on the dollar bills.

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