Sandifer travels to nation’s capital to present energy report 

Rep. Bill Sandifer was part of a delegation that traveled to Washington this week to present a report about South Carolina’s energy resources to members of the state’s Congressional Delegation.  Sandifer serves on the state Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC), which is charged with oversight of the state’s electric and gas utilities.

The report inventories and assesses South Carolina’s energy resources and offers recommendations to state and federal lawmakers. It features information on how and where South Carolina generates electric power, how energy is used by citizens, and what renewable and other resources are available. 

The delegation also included Senator Thomas Alexander of Walhalla, who chairs the PURC, and Sen. Pro Tempore of the Senate Glenn McConnell of Charleston. 

The trip was timely, Sandifer notes, because Congress is currently weighing several proposals to reduce carbon emissions which could adversely affect businesses and consumers. For example, Congress is evaluating a change called “cap and trade,” which would limit the amount of carbon emissions allowed for certain large industries requiring them to purchase or “trade” allowances for greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the U.S. government is considering a renewable portfolio standard that would require the state’s utilities to either produce or purchase a certain percentage of their generating capacity from renewable energy sources. 

“South Carolina faces many unique challenges as we work to develop an energy policy,” Sandifer says. “We believe that this report will give members of our Congressional delegation an up-close look at these challenges so they can better protect our interests. We want make sure that hard working South Carolinians are not unfairly saddled with the ever-increasing costs of unattainable federal energy mandates.”

The report recommends that any federal cap and trade system should include a “safety valve,” so that consumers would be protected if the price of carbon allowances becomes too high. In addition, it favors expanding tax credits and allowances to encourage nuclear generation to meet the state’s long-term energy needs.