South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton says South Carolina consumers must be “fully reimbursed” for their investment in a scuttled nuclear power plant project. Templeton also addressed criticism that she has flip-flopped on a proposed deal between Virginia-based Dominion Energy and Cayce-based SCANA.
That agreement would provide customers of SCANA with a partial reimbursement on the botched construction of a pair of next generation nuclear reactors in Fairfield County, S.C. – a.k.a. #NukeGate.
Consumers have already shelled out more than $2 billion on this abandoned project, and could be on the hook for billions more – a steep price tag for any project, let alone one that is being shut down and will never produce a single kilowatt of energy.
“The day I heard about a deal with Dominion, I was hopeful, but I also said that the proof is in the pudding,” Templeton said in a statement. “And sure enough, the pudding is sour.”
According to the 47-year-old Lowcountry labor attorney, “our first priority has to be that South Carolina ratepayers, who were lied to and ripped off, are paid back in full and will not be charged one single penny more for this project to nowhere. This deal doesn’t do that.”
Templeton added that “fat cat executives” at SCANA could wind up with gigantic “golden parachutes” as part of the Dominion deal.
“That is unacceptable,” Templeton said. “This whole debacle has proven why state government does not need to be in the energy business, but one thing we also don’t need is another bad deal that leaves the people of South Carolina picking up the tab.”
Templeton initially signaled her support for the Dominion-SCANA agreement – but changed her tune when her top opponent in next spring’s GOP primary election, incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster, came out in favor of the proposal.
McMaster’s top campaign strategist, Tim Pearson, assailed Templeton for the flip-flop.
“It’s bullshit,” Pearson tweeted last week. “Like so much of what Catherine says.”
Templeton’s campaign said there was no flip-flop and that her initial tweet in support of the proposal was based on incomplete information. Having fully reviewed the agreement, Templeton says it falls well short of what ratepayers deserve. She also said McMaster’s support for the agreement is based on the financial backing his gubernatorial campaign has received from SCANA.
“Henry McMaster thinks this deal is good, and I’m sure the $115,000 from SCANA direct to his campaign account padded that idea – but what he is really doing is letting big power take advantage of us, once again,” she said. “It is time for Henry McMaster to stop doing SCANA executives’ bidding, and return all of the money they gave to his campaign to curry favor. It’s clear he is looking out for their best interests, not ours, because this is a bad deal for ratepayers.”
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