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Edisto River Gas Plant Approved by State Regulators Sparks Continued Debate

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Edisto River Gas Plant Approved by State Regulators Sparks Continued Debate

By Emily Johnson

Published: February 21, 2024 | Updated: 12 hours ago

State regulators have recently signed off on Santee Cooper’s long-term plan, giving a green light to a new gas-fired power plant located on the Edisto River. The speculated site for this plant falls between Walterboro and St. George at the retired Canadys Station, a former coal-fired plant. This initiative has given birth to a conversation involving a recently introduced SC House bill.

Joint Financing

The proposed power plant is set to be financed and owned jointly by Santee Cooper and Dominion Energy, with a new natural gas pipeline in the mix as part of the requirement. However, the latter has sparked concerns regarding potential impacts on homeowners and the nearby river.

Risks Vary from Property to Bills

Fears range from property damage to an increase in power bills, as well as potential harms to South Carolina’s air quality and clean water. The Southern Environmental Law Center’s senior attorney, Frank Holleman, voiced his concerns, noting that their work is centered around minimizing and preferably avoiding these impacts.

Tying in With House Bill 5118

The approval of the plant coincides with the recently introduced House Bill 5118 – the economic development and utility monitor modernization bill. Backed by an array of state representatives, including Rep. Marvin Pendarvis of Charleston, the bill aims to prepare South Carolina to meet the energy needs of incoming manufacturers and other industries.

Pipeline Impact and Opposition

Opposition from groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center highlights the potential impact of the hefty industrial pipeline that is set to cross the Edisto watershed. Streams, wetlands, and swamps lie on the pipeline’s route, which could lead to adverse effects on the health of the Edisto River and the surrounding ecosystem.

Environmental Issues and Ongoing Dialogues

The environmental concerns raised regarding the proposed power plant have been met with a response from Rep. Pendarvis. He assures that these concerns have been heard, adding that he is currently participating in ongoing conversations with environmental groups. Noting that the bill is still a work in progress, he affirmed his commitment to ensuring that it becomes as beneficial as possible.

Future Steps

As the debates continue, the proposed power plant will still require the necessary permits and approvals before it can proceed. Meanwhile, Santee Cooper remains committed to reducing emissions by over 50% while meeting customer growth and supporting economic development across South Carolina.


HERE Rock Hill
Author: HERE Rock Hill

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