September 13, 2017
By Chad Mills, Reporter
Outside empty House and Senate chambers, the president of the state’s Small Business Chamber had a message that he hopes will travel.
“If we’re ever going to have an opportunity to make the reforms that are needed that are outlined in these recommendations, this is the time it’s got to happen,” Frank Knapp, Jr said.
“Of course, it’s going to be up to the voters out there to hold their legislators’ feet to the fire and say, ‘You’ve got to make these changes so that this never happens again!'”
Surrounded by a group of other leaders, he launched a list of recommendations about a month and a half after the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project failed.
“V.C. Summer is a case study in the interests of the few at the expense of the many, and that’s why we need some of these reforms,” said David Matos with the Carolina Peace Resource Center.
Their chief suggestion: completely repeal the law that allows utilities to raise customers’ rates to fund projects like this one. They want rules that prohibit utilities from contributing to political candidates. They want a consumer advocate. They also want the governor to have more power in preventing fiascos like V.C. Summer.
“It all belongs in the Executive Branch,” said Lynn Teague with the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.
To Carla Damron, who represents state social workers, the recommendations transcend politics.
“A few more dollars is huge. It’s a little bit to me, and it’s a little bit to you, but for folks that live in poverty it is tremendous,” she said.
Meanwhile, suits against SCE&G and Santee Cooper continue to stack up.
“Despite knowledge of the imminent failure of the project, Defendants failed to resolve the problems and continued to use the project as a cash cow,” the latest suit claims. “Plaintiffs have paid money for nothing.”