Clark: A clean-energy agenda is a pro-South Carolina agenda

November 21, 2013 


— I was baffled when I first read Congressman Jeff Duncan’s letter attacking state Sen. Vincent Sheheen’s excellent column encouraging development of local job-producing, clean energy resources abundant in South Carolina (“Sheheen should embrace all-of-the-above energy plan,” Sept. 27).

Why, I thought, would anyone in our great state be against small and medium-size businesses that support almost 18,000 jobs and have the potential to triple that number in the next decade? Small and medium-size businesses are the heart blood of our state’s economy.

When I looked more closely, I understood the answer. Congressman Duncan works in Washington, where coal and oil lobbyists reign supreme. South Carolina is not Washington, thank the Lord. And South Carolina is not Texas, North Dakota, Kentucky or Saudi Arabia, thank you again, dear Lord.

As a Washington insider, Rep. Duncan can take up the causes of North Dakota and Kentucky and Saudi Arabia as much as he pleases. He can cater to Washington lobbyists as much as his heart desires. But Sen. Sheheen is looking out for the Palmetto State.

In South Carolina, we don’t produce any coal or any oil or any natural gas, although we do spend more than $8 billion annually on purchases of these fossil fuels from other states and from foreign countries such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. But we have lots of sunshine, our foresters and farmers are among the best in the world at growing things, and we have an amazing amount of wind five to 50 miles off our coast, just above the shallow waters of our gently sloping continental shelf.

Clean energy is the way of the future, nationally and internationally. We can get on board now or ride the back of the bus once again, as we have with past policies that continue to cause us to lag behind other states in jobs and income.

Let people in North Dakota, Kentucky and Saudi Arabia fend for themselves. Our state leaders should put South Carolina first. And that means advocating a balanced energy future that will create more jobs for South Carolinians.

John Clark


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