The speaker of the South Carolina House is asking the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate “potential criminality” at South Carolina Electric & Gas and its parent corporation SCANA .
The request centers around the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project. House Speaker Jay Lucas on Monday wrote a letter to SLED Chief Mark Keel requesting the investigation, signed by State Reps. Peter McCoy, R-James Island, and Russell Ott, D-St. Matthews, who are chairing the House panel investigating the project.
Lucas’ letter accuses SCE&G of potentially violating criminal laws to cover up the project’s struggles until this summer, when the bankruptcy of its lead contractor Westinghouse effectively derailed the project.
“It has become our belief that the proximate cause of the V.C. Summer collapse is a direct result of misrepresentation by SCANA and SCE&G,” Lucas stated. “We also believe that criminal fraud through the concealment of material information is also a plausible cause for the project’s disastrous collapse.”
McCoy said the letter was drafted last week, ahead of a report Sunday by the Charleston Post & Courier, which found Westinghouse did not use professional engineers to sign off construction drawings for the project. State law requires a certified engineer’s stamp and signature for any construction drawing which impacts public health and safety. The report states Westinghouse attorneys argued the project’s federal permits could override the law and save money.
“How long have they known this was a doomed project?” McCoy told South Carolina Radio Network. “And did they continue to ask for money, even after they have knowledge the project was not going to go anywhere?”
A SCANA spokesman said the company will cooperate with the state investigation.