S.C. Statehouse Report
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004
VIEW: http://www.statehousereport.com/columns/04.1121.efh.htm

COMMENTARY
Hollings leaves environmental legacy
By Andy Brack
SC Statehouse Report

NOV. 21, 2004 - - Just about every South Carolinian has an opinion about retiring U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings who, as most know, has an opinion on just about everything.

Regardless of your view, you're going to miss Hollings if you love South Carolina's special places.

In decades of public service to the state, Hollings' environmental stewardship and leadership are a legacy that anyone will be hard-pressed to beat…ever.

According to his office, Hollings was able to secure funding for South Carolina that protected almost 5 percent of all of the land in the state. In just the last 15 years, he steered $200 million to the state to buy, protect or build facilities on 890,000 acres of South Carolina's most pristine land.


Click here to learn more about Hollings' legacy.

"History books will show he has done more for the environment than anybody in the history of South Carolina," said John Frampton, head of the state Department of Natural Resources.

As a former spokesman for Hollings, this writer admittedly may look a little kindly at the senator's career. But that experience also provides a background that gives a special understanding into all he has accomplished.

At his core, Hollings, like many people from South Carolina, believes the outdoors is a sanctuary that must be protected for future generations. He's practical in balancing the need for growth and development with the need to keep what's special.

But his record really doesn't need any "spin." His "performance over promise" for South Carolina's outdoors speaks for itself:

  • Protector of special places. When South Carolina's treasures became threatened by development, Hollings secured federal funding to protect them. Funding went all over the state - - along the Cooper River at Bonneau Ferry, around Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, at the Lake Jocassee Wilderness area and along the ACE Basin. In Myrtle Beach, he helped to create the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.

  • First National Park. Hollings, in teamwork with U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, helped to create Congaree National Park in the Midlands - - the culmination of a three-decade effort to protect the South's largest remaining bottomland swamp.

  • Coastal savior. Hollings is recognized as the father of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - - a federal agency that oversees national ocean and coastal research. Throughout his career, he brought multitudes of NOAA research projects to South Carolina to protect its coastline and help better understand fish populations, turtles and more. An important NOAA research lab is in Charleston thanks to Hollings.

  • Environmental education. Hollings also helped provide federal funding for the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium to provide important educational training to professionals to help them be better stewards of the sea.

  • Legislation that changed America. Hollings authored the national Coastal Zone Management Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Ocean Dumping Act, all of which became models on how to deal with important ocean-related issues. In 2000, he created the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, which recently released a report that challenges America to clean up and protect oceans.

ALSO THIS WEEK

McLEMORE'S WORLD: Extreme wing angels in heaven

FEEDBACK: Better two-party system needed

SCORECARD: Who's up and down

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Perhaps no more fitting tribute that outlines the sweeping context of Hollings' contributions is one that comes from South Carolina's junior senator, Lindsey Graham, who has been modeling how he delivers for South Carolina after Hollings:

"He seems to have been there every time his country needed him," Graham said, adding later that Hollings always pushed the envelope to deal with important national problems. "Since Sen. Hollings has been in the Senate, he hasn't let any grass grow under his feet...

"From the mountains to the sea, Sen. Hollings has been integrally involved in protecting what God has given us…His time in the Senate will be felt by South Carolinians as long as there is a South Carolina. You have made our state a better place to live."


RECENT COMMENTARY

McLEMORE'S WORLD
11/21: Turkey Day

The latest from cartoonist Bill McLemore:


FEEDBACK
11/15: Current education model doesn't work

To the editor:

Vouchers, Private School, reduced state funding, blah, blah, blah, etc., does not influence the quality of education in any given State or district.

Public Education , S.C.E.A., N.E.A., and yes S.C.S.B.A, and the Democratic party will continue to support any position that keeps eggs in their basket ( tax money). The will complain about any accountability standard that is applied (NCLB) and they will continually avoid the truth that we are failing to educate our children.

Alternative programs are not the enemy. In my county we are spending somewhere North of $9000.00 per child exclusive of capital improvement debt and less than half of the student population scores proficient on PACT. We hand pick a select few of our students to take S.A.T. and we average less than 900. Private schools down the road charge less than $3500 per student inclusive of capital improvement costs and have remarkably stronger academic scores.

When a system openly discusses a "head count" as a manner to increase budget revenue, that system has lost focus of why it exists.

Public Education can work. Our current model does not work and should not receive continued protection. Our children deserve better and our local economy should demand better.

-- David L. Cope, Jasper County Board Of Education, District 1


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SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD

Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various political events from the past week:

Thumbs up

Carolina Investors. Folks who had their money in the bankrupt Carolina Investors finally will start recovering some of their assets as checks from $40 million recovered are being mailed.

Wilkins, Spratt, Clyburn. House Speaker David Wilkins says he hopes to keep his job and won't go to the Bush Administration. Democrats John Spratt and Jim Clyburn keep their national party leadership posts.

Hollings. Hats off to retiring Sen. Fritz Hollings, who gave his last floor speech this week.

Thumbs down

Morris. Former Lt. Gov. and Comptroller Gen. Earle Morris was found guilty this week of 22 counts of securities fraud.

Sanford. The governor's numbers on the cost of government are being questioned seriously. He needs to fix a growing credibility gap -- and stop arguing with lawmakers.

SC and women. The state is 49th of 50 in women's issues. It needs to do better.


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