S.C. lawmakers will start the task of tackling South Carolina’s nuclear meltdown this week.
Both the S.C. House and state Senate have named special committees to examine the decision by the state-owned Santee Cooper utility and SCANA subsidiary SCE&G to abandon construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.
The Senate’s nuclear review committee will meet on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Gressette Building on the State House grounds. The House’s “utility ratepayer protection” committee will meet on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Blatt Building.
Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, set up the Senate committee to review the decision by the utilities. However, on Tuesday, senators will hear from two state agencies involved in regulating South Carolina’s investor-owned utilities – the Public Service Commission and the Office of Regulatory Staff.
SCE&G and Santee Cooper will also update the committee on the current status of the nuclear project.
The two state agencies will have a question-and-answer session with House members Wednesday.
The two legislative panels were created just after the July 31 collapse of the nuclear project. That led House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, to say “it is obvious that our current standard for energy development in South Carolina is flawed and in need of reform.”
Lawmakers want to develop ways to cushion the blow for the state’s power customers. Thanks to a law that legislators passed in 2007, those consumers are on the hook to pay the project’s multibillion-dollar cost even after it was abandoned.
Offshore drilling and K-12 funding also on agenda
Also this week, some House members will meet on Tuesday to discuss possible oil drilling off the S.C. coast, and a panel of state senators will meet on Wednesday to hear about equalizing school funding from state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
Bryant plays catch-up in governor’s race
Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant is putting his own money behind his 2018 gubernatorial bid.
Campaign finance numbers reported to the S.C. Ethics Commission last Sunday show Bryant’s campaign has brought in more than $300,000 in contributions and loans since he announced his bid for the state’s top office in late July.
However, the bulk of that money comes from Bryant.
The Anderson pharmacy owner – a former member of the state Senate’s libertarian William Wallace Caucus – contributed $226,000 to his own campaign and also loaned it another $25,000.
Another 10 individuals and groups contributed $3,500 each.
Thus far, Bryant’s campaign reports spending $6,300.
Bryant has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to financially catch up with his opponents in June’s GOP primary for governor.
Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster has brought in $1.8 million in contributions. Former DHEC director Catherine Templeton is close behind at $1.5 million. Yancey McGill, a former state senator who was lieutenant governor for less than a year, has raised $420,000.