The nuclear debacle
The loss of nearly 6,000 jobs was immediate and unanticipated. We remain pro-nuclear, but we are pro-business and pro-jobs first. There should’ve been a greater accountability in place to prevent this from happening.
There’s plenty of blame to spread around. Some are even blaming state lawmakers for enacting the Base Load Review Act, or BLRA, which allowed SCANA, a parent company of SCE&G, to raise electric rates during construction.
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SCANA executives have claimed this “pay as you go” approach would save ratepayers money. Instead, it’s stuck them with bills that are 18 percent higher with no hope of lowering anytime soon. It’s also cost about 6,000 people their jobs. What’s happening now is the antithesis of saving money.
Some angry ratepayers probably hold a grudge knowing that SCANA pumped nearly $1.7 million into state and federal campaigns since 2008, the first full year the BLRA was in effect. Contributions before 2008 were not available on the S.C. Ethics Commission website.
Blaming lawmakers on this basis alone oversimplifies the issue somewhat. Ten years ago, few could’ve predicted the complex variables involved in building a nuclear project. …
We’re glad lawmakers are having second thoughts about the ill-conceived BLRA, which we think has cost, not saved, ratepayers money. And we’re also dismayed SCANA isn’t planning to refund ratepayers amid the corporation’s generous quarterly report, in which quarterly earnings rose $13 million from the same period a year ago.
We hope when lawmakers reconvene in January that they crack the whip. Ratepayers and workers deserve better.
Big ag’s big thirst
Let’s hope it doesn’t take a crisis — a sustained drought, a river sucked dry by industrial-scale agribusiness or wells running dry — to force changes in South Carolina’s flawed 2010 Surface Water Act.…
A pending bill by Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, would remove agricultural exemptions from the Surface Water Act and require permits for withdrawals of more than 425 million gallons per month. A similar bill by Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, would apply to farmers the same rules that regulate industrial and other non-farm users, meaning all withdrawals of 3 million gallons per month or more would require DHEC permits.
Both bills, however, are expected to meet strong resistance from the South Carolina Farm Bureau and the Palmetto Agribusiness Council. Both have considerable influence, and both have opposed any change in the Surface Water Act without proof that current rules are harming waterways or downstream users. Never mind that the current level of use appears far in excess of what a traditional farming operation would require.
Hopefully, even mega-farmers will realize that reasonable efforts to additionally regulate surface-water withdrawals are in their best interests. State water resources aren’t limitless and policies that fail to protect them must be strengthened on their behalf.
(A)s the state’s population grows and more and more land is inhabited by or accessible to humans, encounters with wildlife of all types are more common.
And that can mean problems, both in terms of protecting people and wildlife.
Recently, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources issued a press release advising people that the “best thing to do when one comes across wildlife is to leave it alone and contact the appropriate people should the animal be in distress or human lives be in danger.”
DNR cites a media report in which people claimed they encountered a Midlands alligator and were planning to release the animal into another environment on the coast.
“While this story may have been fabricated, incidents of people moving wildlife do occur and, while it is believed many people who handle wildlife have the best of intentions, it is against the law to take and possess certain kinds of wildlife.”
And it is dangerous.