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South Carolina’s legislative mess over nuclear power

ANDY BRACK: What really needs to happen with General Assembly’s nuclear mess, South Carolina Now, ANDY BRACK Statehouse Report, 28 Jan 18

    Until state legislators go through the five stages of grief over the $9 billion failure of building two nuclear reactors, they might just screw up things worse.

It’s easy to see where they are, so far, six months after the announcement by Santee Cooper and SCANA that the project in Fairfield County wouldn’t get off the ground, despite ratepayers paying more for power over the last 10 years.

First is the denial stage – that it couldn’t happen here. Evidence of this is the prodigious finger-pointing as everybody and his brother look for scapegoats.

 Next comes anger. There’s still a lot of anger bubbling inside the capitol and among voters who are irritated by the waste of what’s happened. Anger comes in many forms, but often is seen in unrealistic calls to make everything better and send lots of people to jail. And politicians, scared for their hides, are shamelessly exploiting anger on a daily basis.

The third stage is bargaining, in which some lawmakers are rushing pell-mell to pass bills that try to fix problems in an attempt to negotiate away the pain caused by the failure. Slow down.

Fourth is depression. Often when one reaches this part of the grieving process, it reflects how a problem seems overwhelming and hard to cope with. But it also may start the process of trying to deal with a loss realistically, instead of development of quick responses fueled by anger.

Finally, there’s acceptance. It involves learning to live with what happened and being smart about dealing with it.

Folks, the state legislature isn’t there yet. Why? Because it hasn’t accepted responsibility that it is complicit in the chain of events that created a $9 billion eyesore that likely will become an enduring monument to failure and futility.

What the legislature needs to do now, more than rushing to pass legislation to fix what’s happened, is to apologize and take responsibility for the whole mess. Had legislators not passed the Base Load Review Act a decade ago, utilities wouldn’t have been able to charge ratepayers in advance to pay for the nuclear project.

This is not to let SCANA and Santee Cooper off the hook for cost overruns and apparent all-around mismanagement of the V.C. Summer construction project, but it’s to emphasize that the General Assembly needs to clean up its own house on the nuclear mess before resorting to solutions that could actually make things even worse……..


January 29, 2018 - Posted by | general

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