EDITORIAL: You Can't Sue An Industry
Industry leaders in South Carolina are positively giddy, now that your Constitutional right to a “redress of grievance” has been curtailed by state law.
The so-called “nuisance suits” that go to courts to protect property owners from the by-products of some industries are now illegal in South Carolina. The law should have to stand up to a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court, but we doubt it will. South Carolina is an industry-friendly state, so if can dress up a business like it’s an industry pretty much anything is permissible in terms of damage to your adjoining property.
Gov. Henry McMaster signed the law last week. Reaction was swift from industry supporters:
“When a manufacturer locates in South Carolina, it must be assured that its operations will not be threatened by nuisance lawsuits against its existing operations,” said Jack Sanders, Chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and President and CEO of Sonoco. “We thank the General Assembly for their fair leadership on this issue and for supporting the prosperity of manufacturing in our state.”
“Volvo Cars is proud of the work being done by the Governor and legislature to ensure that advanced manufacturing continues to prosper in South Carolina,” said Katarina Fjording, Vice President, Purchasing & Manufacturing of Volvo Car Group at Chair of the SC Chamber’s Manufacturers’ Steering Committee. “Like many other companies, Volvo Cars has chosen to call South Carolina home due to the strength of its workforce and its business-friendly climate. The passage of this bill is a strong example of the state’s commitment to job creation and innovation.”
“Today’s signing of H.3653 is a victory for South Carolina jobs,” said South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Ted Pitts. “The Manufacturing sector employs nearly 12 percent of the state’s workforce and is on the rise in the Palmetto State – paving the way for job creation, economic growth, and unrivaled innovation. Over 47,000 new manufacturing jobs have been announced in the past 7 years, and employment in advanced manufacturing has grown by over 19 percent. The passage of this bill represents a unified effort between job creators, the legislature, and the Governor to protect existing South Carolina businesses and encourage continued growth in the manufacturing sector.”
“On behalf of South Carolina manufacturers and their thousands of South Carolina associates, we are grateful to the legislature and Governor McMaster for their leadership in making H. 3653 law,” said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “As South Carolina's population continues to grow and neighborhoods continue to expand closer and closer to existing manufacturing facilities' footprints, it is important to provide certainty to those manufacturers so that they can continue to invest, operate, and provide jobs. South Carolina manufacturers strive to be good neighbors and this legislation strikes a balance between the needs of industry and the rights of citizens. This law will encourage future South Carolina manufacturing capital investments and jobs."
“Manufacturers have a long and proud history of being good corporate citizens to the communities where we work and live,” said Dirk Pieper, President and CEO of Sage Automotive Interiors and past Chairman of the SCMA. “It’s important to have policies like H. 3653 that encourage fair, consistent, and common-sense approaches in the legal system because this allows manufacturers to continue to do what they do best – create, innovate, and provide meaningful local employment.”
So, good for industry supporters. They mobilized the lawmakers who depend on corporate contributions into addressing something that wasn’t really a problem, but might could have possibly been a problem somewhere down the line in heavily urbanized areas of South Carolina. They convinced the General Assembly that “industry won’t come here without this law” - now, South Carolina’s government is going to find people who treasure their quality of life won’t move here because of this law.