Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Jim Clyburn and even President Barack Obama are pushing South Carolina as a hot spot to produce new and traditional sources of energy.
That and the state’s more conservative political leanings are why the national Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate has focused its energies on the Palmetto State.
Phyllis Cuttino of the project says South Carolina is one of ten pivotal states:
We’re not interested in just going to states like Massachusetts, California or Washington State. We’re interested in talking to the heartland, been to Indiana, been to Ohio, been to Missouri, been to Michigan. So we’re going to places that have large military populations, that have a heated debate going on because these are the places that we have something to add.
Cuttino, a Furman University graduate, has worked with the United Nations and in Washington for Senate Democrats. Today, she engages legislators, business interests, utilities and military leaders to discuss how energy independence means increased national security. The puts her working with retired Republican Senator John Warner, as well as a corps of retired, high-powered military leaders.
She says, in essence, two out of three motivations will do:
National security, climate change and energy are interlinked. So, if you don’t believe the science, we should do something about reducing our energy dependence, we should do something about creating a clean energy economy because it’s good for the economy and our national security. If you don’t think it’s good for the environment or that’s not what you really care about, do it for the other two reasons.
The Pew Project, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts, has met with political and business leaders in both Charleston and Columbia. And they will come back because they see South Carolina as pivotal in energy policy leadership.
(According to Cuttino, this is a not an issue that is “just about soundbites” MP3)
Cuttino says the answer does not come in soundbites MP3
When the Pew talked energy policy in Columbia, they gathered legislators, environmental groups, small business leaders and utility interests. Mike Couick is the president and CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, the state’s rural electric source.
(He agrees that the issues, and the solutions, are complex MP3)
He agrees that the issues, and the solutions, are complex MP3
Couick says he is concerned about relying on sources outside the U.S. when we can produce fuel here in South Carolina, along with saving large amounts of energy before having to produce more.