Legislators speak out against proposed sale of Santee Cooper

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Senators and representatives from the Grand Strand, Pee Dee and Lowcountry areas met at Horry Georgetown Technical College Wednesday afternoon to discuss a number of topics, but the one that stood out was the proposed sale of Santee Cooper.

This follows the end of the VC Summer project. Construction of a nuclear power plant stopped earlier this year after a debacle between the builder and Santee Cooper.

Since then, Gov. Henry McMaster has looked at offers from potential buyers. However, the senators and representatives at Wednesday's luncheon spoke out against the governor.

"Let me just cut to the chase," Republican Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, from District 34, said. "Santee Cooper doesn't need to be sold."

The main problem, they say, is that taxpayers and rate payers will not benefit.

"It's not going to help us here in South Carolina to sell Santee Cooper, at least not the deals that I've seen so far, so don't buy into that," Goldfinch said. "Don't buy into that."

"The Santee Cooper rate payer has taken it on the chin," Republican Rep. Alan Clemmons, from District 107, said. "We're not going to let the rate payer take it on the chin twice."

Rep. Gregory Duckworth spoke out against the governor's plan to sell the company, saying it would be a political move.

"You have a governor that was not elected to become our governor," Duckworth said. "He assumed the position when our prior governor, Haley, took her new role. I think it's incumbent upon us all to realize this gentleman that's seated in the governor's position is trying to get re-elected and I think it would be on our backs literally that that would happen, and I think that would be a travesty for South Carolina."

The legislators said even though McMaster is talking about selling Santee Cooper, he can't do that.

"The governor's proposing to sell it," Republican Rep. Lee Hewitt, from District 108, said. "He can't sell it. It comes back to the only person who can sell it is the legislator."

Goldfinch was adamant he would prevent this from happening.

"I will use my objection power on the sale of Santee Cooper," Goldfinch said. "It will not happen. It will take one senator to stop it. And you're looking at the guy that will stop it on the Senate side."

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