Opinion Extra

Editorials from across South Carolina: base load review act, bad roads, Fritz Hollings

Joe Biden, right, laughs with his friend Fritz Hollings during a 2010 ceremony at USC.
Joe Biden, right, laughs with his friend Fritz Hollings during a 2010 ceremony at USC. Tim Dominick/tdominick@thestate.

Overhaul base load review act

While SCANA and other stakeholders sort through the mess, we have a proposal for state lawmakers — it’s time to take a second look at the Base Load Review Act .… All the BLRA does is allow utilities to shift the burden to ratepayers who are seeing zero return on their investment. V.C. Summer construction is only 34 percent complete (64 percent if you count engineering, procurement and startup). V.C. Summer hasn’t generated 1 watt of power, yet SCANA rate hikes account for roughly 20 percent of a typical customer’s power bill.

That’s a lot of money to sink into a nuclear lemon.

Meantime, V.C. Summer is billions over budget and facing $1.5 billion in additional costs, with completion now not expected until at least 2019, if at all. That’s a lot of money to sink into a nuclear lemon.

Imagine the political fallout the S.C. General Assembly would face if it raised income taxes nine times without anything to show for it. There would be an utter meltdown if the governor and cabinet members got hefty raises like the $937,000 in pay increases SCANA executives received in 2016.

SCE&G updates nuclear power plant construction plant

Whether or not SCANA finishes V.C. Summer, ratepayers are paying the price. If V.C. Summer is abandoned, their money will be wasted. If the project moves forward, higher power bills seem unavoidable, a conundrum caused by the BLRA.

Instead of allowing a system that zaps residential customers to persist, lawmakers must revise the BLRA to stop the madness behind senseless rate increases, especially if we’ve got nothing to show for them.

Blame lawmakers for bad roads

(H)ere we are yet again. It’s like the state Senate, House, residents and major industries have come to a standstill at a four-way stop. Residents and big business are more than happy to yield the right-of-way and let lawmakers strike a deal that will pave the way for fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, but the wrangling continues.

If lawmakers cannot reach a deal that will lead to improved roads, then perhaps they should put their pay, per diems and in-district expense earnings into a pot that will go toward road repairs. That wouldn’t be enough money, but the impact on their bank accounts might provide some incentive to take care of this problem rather than continuing to leave it on the shoulder of the road.

A way to break through the gas-tax gridlock?

Another option would be to take those earnings and set up a fund back home so their constituents can get tires replaced and wheels aligned. That would certainly bring a home perspective to the problem people face because of poor road conditions.

Something has to give here. We certainly hope it won’t take a number of major industries packing up and leaving the Palmetto State to get the attention of lawmakers in Columbia.

Road rage might well become the norm in South Carolina, and, if so, it will be directed at lawmakers.



A look back at the Hollings era

For South Carolinians familiar with the politics of the state and nation of the 20th century, Fritz Hollings being honored this past week brought back memories of a different political time.

The Charlestonian is a leading figure in South Carolina political history, having served first as governor and then from 1966 to 2005 as a U.S. senator. Nearly all of that time he spent as the junior senator (the nation’s longest-serving) to the equally legendary Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond.

Former VP Biden: Sen. Hollings epitomizes courage, integrity

A week ago today, the 95-year-old Hollings was in his element among a crowd of well-wishers gathered in Charleston for the unveiling of a statue of the senator in the garden of the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center. There were tributes aplenty.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who served with Hollings for more than three decades in the Senate: “Fritz is the reason I was the vice president of the United States and a United States senator. You instilled an enormous amount of confidence in me, Fritz,” who endorsed Biden during his first Senate run.…

Power and decision-making are more fragmented in today’s political world, where one lawmaker cannot have the kind of influence of a Hollings.

Times & Democrat