The South Carolina House declined to concur on Wednesday with a Senate bill that would not eliminate the full nuclear surcharge SCE&G customers are being forced to pay for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. The House and Governor Henry McMaster believe the 18% nuclear surcharge should be completely eliminated so ratepayers do not have to pay for a failed and fraudulent nuclear project. As of April 26th, SCE&G ratepayers have been forced to pay $2 billion for the V.C. Summer nuclear project. The Senate believes the 18% surcharge should but cut to 5%, which would still result in the collection of over $300,000 per month from ratepayers to SCE&G. Due to the House’s action on Wednesday, the House and Senate will each select three members from its chambers to be on a joint conference committee that will negotiate a resolution to this bill. If the Senate refuses to work with the House and governor to provide temporary rate relief, ratepayers will be required to continue paying the 18% nuclear surcharge every month.
On Wednesday the House passed what is known as the Beachfront Management Reform Act to address the beachfront setback line. The beachfront setback line is set by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and it determines how close new construction can be built to the ocean. Data accumulated over a set period of time determines where the setback line will be for building construction. The time period in which data is collected to determine the setback line is referred to as the Establishment Cycle. The last line was set in 2012 and a 2017 line has been proposed. One major issue with the current parameters of the Establishment Cycle is the inclusion of major storms in the data, which skew the overall accumulated data, and drastically affect the placement of the line. The Beachfront Management Reform Act sets in place a beachfront setback line at the most seaward of the established 2012 line, or the line established through a review or appeal of the proposed 2017 line. The law also states data cannot be used to determine new lines from an erosion zone within eighteen months of it being impacted by a named storm system. Additionally, the law sets up procedures and notices for DHEC to use for any future baseline and setback line establishment cycles, including a clarification of an appeals process, and more transparency from DHEC.
As of Thursday afternoon, there are two legislative weeks/six legislative days remaining of this legislative session before Sine Die. The House will take up the final draft of the budget next week and vote on $26 million in additional funding for school resource officers and prison safety measures. Republicans are pushing for this funding to make our public schools safer for students and teachers and in response violence at our state prisons.
I am a member of the House Republican Caucus. As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 864 918-4859.