Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Senate is creating a special committee to review the decision to shut down construction at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

Senate Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Here is his full letter making the announcement:

Dear Senator Setzler and Senator Massey:

As President Pro Tempore, I am appointing you as co-chairmen of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Review Committee.

The South Carolina Senate has a solemn duty to serve the citizens of our state. This committee is a step toward fulfilling that duty as it relates to the crisis caused by the aborted nuclear construction project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.

In 2008, the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) and the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) undertook a project to build a two unit nuclear facility that they determined was needed to provide sustainable electricity to the state for generations to come. After nine years and billions of dollars taken from South Carolinians through rate increases approved by Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors and the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) upon application by SCE&G, a determination has been made to terminate the project.

This committee is charged with broad authority to review all aspects of this project and the chain of decisions made by the management of SCE&G and Santee Cooper as well as the governmental actions of the Public Service Commission and the Office of Regulatory Staff. The role of Westinghouse and its parent company Toshiba, including their contracts and bond requirements, should be examined thoroughly. In addition, the committee will review all relevant statutes, including the Base Load Review Act, those related to Santee Cooper, the Public Service Commission, and the Office of Regulatory Staff. The committee will provide recommendations for statutory changes that will better protect South Carolina’s electric ratepayers.

The decision to abandon the project leaves South Carolinians strapped with paying for new facilities that will never provide electricity to their homes or businesses. SCE&G and Santee Cooper have announced plans for additional rate increases in order to pay the costs of shutting down this project. Since SCE&G and Santee Cooper generate the household electricity consumed by a majority of South Carolinians, the negative impact of this failed project will touch nearly every home in our state, particularly those in Fairfield County. A primary focus of this committee is to determine the best way to protect the ratepayers from further injury and to prevent similar circumstances in the future.

The Senate will look to this committee for leadership and direction to develop a new energy policy for South Carolina. I urge you to begin meeting as soon as possible.

Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr.
President Pro Tempore