Congressman Gresham Barrett, a Republican candidate for governor, made stops at various locations around the state Monday to discuss his energy plan. Barrett says South Carolina can become the nation’s new energy capital. He’s calling for energy exploration off the state’s coast and says he will do everything in his power to clear the path for increased nuclear production.
Barrett says he believes that a nuclear renaissance will come to pass and the Palmetto State is poised to take advantage of it.
In Congress, Barrett authored the “Pathway to Nuclear Power Act.” Barrett says the bill addresses the major obstacles that he says currently prevent the expansion of nuclear power production across the country. It seeks to grow the nuclear manufacturing base, addresses the labor shortage facing the industry, and would streamline the licensing of new nuclear power plants. It also would create an investment tax credit for new plant construction and allow for public-private partnerships to use tax credits for the nuclear industry.
Barrett says one nuclear power plant creates as many as 2,400 jobs during its construction and provides 400 to 700 jobs during operation. He says the average nuclear power plant generates approximately $430 million a year in total output for the community and nearly $40 million per year in total labor income.
Barrett says the nuclear industry is already responsible for more than 28,000 jobs in South Carolina.
Barrett says according to a recent study from the American Petroleum Institute, offshore energy exploration and production would create more than 2,200 new jobs in South Carolina and generate $250 million annually in royalty-sharing for the state.
Barrett says those funds would really help the state: “I would propose through state legislation that we use 70 percent of the royalty funds for the state’s infrastructure and 20 percent for law enforcement.”
In addition, he would propose that 10 percent of the money from offshore drilling royalties go for alternative energy research and production. Barrett says he will outline permitting procedures for offshore exploration and establish incentives to attract natural gas and oil companies to the state, and prohibit the establishment of any offshore energy facility within 20 miles of the coast.