June 24, 2009

Letter To the Editor: Don't forget why Santee Cooper is increasing rates

I wrote a letter to the editor and I'm happy to say that the Florence morning newspaper, SCnow, published it on June 21. The letter points out that Santee Cooper will raise its rates to build a new coal plant fueled by coal from mountain top removal. Here's the link, but the letter has expired from the website.

"Don't forget why Santee Cooper is increasing rates"

As Santee Cooper, our state-owned utility, hikes rates by 15% over the next two years, let us not forget why. Revenues from the rate hike will be used to build the utility’s new polluting coal plant at a cost of over 1 billion dollars. This proposed coal plant not only poses a financial risk to rate payers, but an environmental and health risk to people and communities in Appalachia.

The coal plant will use approximately 12,000 tons of coal every day and much of this coal comes from the mountaintops of Kentucky and West Virginia. One million acres of mountain tops have been destroyed and the debris dumped in the valleys impacting communities and polluting water supplies. Santee Cooper’s new coal guzzling power plant will support this destructive mining, so not only will this plant threaten the health and welfare of people in South Carolina, but in Kentucky and West Virginia as well.

There are alternatives to another coal plant. Santee Cooper should focus revenue spending on energy efficiency programs that will reduce energy demand, while they invest and bring on line energy alternatives like biomass, offshore wind, solar and small natural gas plants. We do not need this rate hike to support old technology that not only jeopardizes our health and welfare here in South Carolina but whose impacts reach farther north to the mountains of Appalachia and the communities and people living there. Say no to another coal plant.

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