McMaster’s State of the State hits home run on offshore drilling and SCANA

McMaster’s State of the State hits home run on offshore drilling and SCANA

“…Nor can we take for granted our precious natural resources which define and sustain us, from the mountains to the sea.

South Carolina’s beaches, sea islands and marshes are the most beautiful in the nation, bringing 29 million people to South Carolina every year and supporting a $20 billion tourism industry.

From Little River and Myrtle Beach, to Georgetown and Charleston, to Hilton Head and Beaufort and Daufuskie Island, our economy and culture depend on a living, pristine coastline. Every municipality along our coast has voted to oppose drilling and seismic testing. They are right.

With offshore drilling comes the construction of onshore infrastructure – refineries, gas storage tanks, maintenance and operating facilities, trucks and traffic. We have no place to put it. It is incompatible with everything we have and do on our coast.

Oil spills, like hurricanes, can disrupt and damage a state’s economy. We cannot stop hurricanes, but we can avoid oil spills. We cannot take a chance. We must do whatever it takes to preserve this economic paradise we call “the beach, the marsh, the coast and the lowcountry.” It is made of gold….

…South Carolina’s bright economic future and continued job growth require an abundant supply of clean and affordable energy. Without it, we are at a competitive disadvantage.

Santee Cooper’s and SCANA’s decisions to suspend and abandon the construction of two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station require us to take action immediately, but carefully.

Customers of Santee Cooper and SCANA have already paid billions for this project. Now, they face the prospect of also being charged for years in the future for reactors which may never be completed. This cannot happen.

We must carefully assess our situation. We must construct the best possible solution. The customers must either get the reactors or get their money back.

On Friday, the Office of Regulatory Staff produced an independent audit which contradicted the bleak scenario painted by SCANA’s executives, concluding SCANA’s bankruptcy to be “unlikely” if the Base Load Review Act is reformed.

In light of this new information, it is plainly irresponsible to allow SCANA or any prospective purchasers to continue collecting money from customers for this project. Send me a bill that replaces the Base Load Review Act and prevents ratepayers from being charged in the future for the abandoned reactors, and I will sign it. Send me a bill that continues to place the financial burden of this corporate failure on South Carolina ratepayers, and I will veto it.

The interests of the ratepayers must come first.”

Henry McMaster
Governor of South  Carolina
State of the State
January 24, 2018