Commerce, environmental officials speak at meeting

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's top commerce official is speaking at a conference about the impact of water on the state's prosperity.

      State Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt is giving opening remarks Wednesday at the South Carolina Water Resources Conference in Columbia. He's expected to focus on the economic impact of water resources management for South Carolina.

      Organizers say the theme of this year's gathering is "Exploring Opportunities for Collaborative Water Research, Policy and Management."

      Other featured speakers include Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton and Col. Alvin Taylor, director of the state Department of Natural Resources.

      Several state lawmakers are also scheduled to participate in a panel discussion about the policies and politics of water.