– By Jeff Duncan –
A letter to the editor ran recently in The Edgefield Advertiser challenging my position on energy development. The letter read, “Due to our geological past, South Carolina has no coal, oil or natural gas…either on shore or off.” That statement is false and misleading. According to a study conducted in 2009, there is an estimated 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the South Carolina coast. That would generate roughly 7,500 new jobs, have an annual economic impact for South Carolina of over $2.2 billion, and generate nearly $87.5 million in additional state revenue per year. It’s also important to note that we’re in the process of conducting new seismic testing off the SC coast using 21st century technology. It’s very possible that after this testing has concluded, we’ll find that these estimates actually understate the potential economic benefits for South Carolina.
The letter goes on to state “Good jobs are created by clean, renewable energy like wind, solar and passive geothermal.”
I fully support wind, solar, and geothermal jobs just like I support oil, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric jobs. I’ve been very clear in my support for an all-of-the-above approach to energy development. However, it sounds like the letter’s author wants to pick solar, wind, and geothermal jobs over oil, natural gas, and nuclear jobs. I have a problem when these “clean” energy jobs can’t stand on their own without assistance from Washington, and when we’re picking winners and losers in the market place.
Solyndra received $525 million from the Obama administration but still went bankrupt. Abound Solar received $374 million but went belly-up in 2012. Ener1 closed its doors exactly one year after being touted by Vice President Joe Biden as a successful green government investment and received nearly $377 million from taxpayers. Fisker Automotive received more than $500 million in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy shortly before closing its U.S. plant and sending all of those promised “green jobs” to Finland.
When it comes to energy, the facts support responsible offshore drilling in our state, and I am proud to be a leader on this issue.