NINE BILLION DOLLARS

 

After eight years of writing a blog, I have learned a few things. One of them is, when I am really mad about something, the words seem to flow from my fingertips. This is one of those times that I cannot stop writing about an awful thing here in South Carolina.

According to an article written by Phil Noble, a syndicated writer across South Carolina, this is probably the biggest boondoggle and corruption event in the history of the state. I am not sure where it stacks up against Enron or the savings and loan debacle, but it comes close.

Here is the story as I have read about it.  Santee Cooper and SCANA (SC Electric and Gas parent company) lobbied the SC legislature in 2007 to pass the Base Load Review Act. It enabled the power companies to build nuclear facilities to provide electricity for the state. The legislation provided a 10.5% guaranteed profit to SCANA even if the project went into the tank.

Guess what, the project went into the tank. The legislation had passed in only a few days with only 6 house members voting no. Imagine school finance laws to help rural schools become more successful. Let’ see that might take over 20 years. Guess there must be a difference between the two pieces of legislation.

Rate payers in SC have been paying the cost of this project and will continue to pay for it until the 9 billion bucks is finished. Meanwhile, the management of the two companies has enriched them and publicly takes no responsibility for the failure of the project.

Do you think that money exchanged hands during the passage of this legislation? You bet it did and it continues today. Not sure how many of the legislators from 2007 are still around, but recently, the Governor of SC received a campaign  donation of 115k. At this point SCANA has refused to hand over a study by the Bechtel Corporation who did a study of the project in 2015.

Bechtel reported on a number of serious problems with the project and its construction. SCANA and Santee Cooper are responsible for this debacle. Their management will leave their companies with large golden parachutes. The President of SCANA, who was just let go by the board, will get a 16 million dollar severance package.

This is all a pile of caca de toro. If you took that 9 billion dollars and divided it by the 736,000 children in public schools in South Carolina, you would get an additional $12,228 per pupil. That would go a long way to solving South Carolina’s education problems.

 

 

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