- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Some state lawmakers are working to make sure the South Carolina Conservation Bank continues to operate.

A coalition of environmental groups hopes to convince lawmakers to authorize the bank to continue operations for another five years, The Post and Courier of Charleston (https://bit.ly/2iI2nWn) reported.

Funding provided by the conservation bank has helped Morris Island and the Angel Oak in the Charleston area.

The Palmetto Land and Water Legacy Alliance announced its formation Wednesday. More than two dozen environmental and business groups will push to save the bank, which could be curtailed next year.

The bank is a public-private funding effort to conserve land. It has protected more than 300,000 acres since its start in 2004.

Some lawmakers don’t like the bank because it pays to conserve privately-owned land. Real estate interests because don’t like the bank because it is funded by fees on property transfers.

State lawmakers have reduced funding for the bank from $22 million to $13 million.

The law that created the bank requires that it be reauthorized every five years. Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, has pre-filed a bill to reauthorize the bank. The bill would extend the reauthorization period to 10 years.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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