To the Contrary

Another coal-fired plant?

Our lust for energy and reluctance for conservation is going to cost us dearly one day, and that day might be sooner than we think. Here's some bad news for the environment: South Carolina ranked fifth overall in increased U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2003. State power plant emissions swelled by nearly 60 percent after Santee Cooper and SCANA Corp. opened massive coal-fired facilities in that time. Only Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire saw greater increases.

More bad news for the environment: State-owned Santee Cooper wants to add another coal-burning plant, this time in Florence County. The $1 billion facility is expected to satisfy an 835-megawatt deficit that the company projects South Carolina will face by 2015. ...

Good news: We still have a fighting chance. The Department of Health and Environmental Control must sign off on the plant. And beyond the detrimental environmental factors, health risks and expense to the public, the agency should consider that Santee Cooper customers already have managed to cut 725 megawatts from demand through efficient practices and the use of alternative fuels and energy sources, such as solar power, to meet energy demand.

Finding another 835 megawatts by 2015 when this state ranks at the bottom of the barrel in energy conservation practices should be a relatively easy task. There is only one direction to go when you're at rock-bottom. ...

Santee Cooper's plan is malignant, and DHEC should deny its request. We don't need a coal-burning plant to quench our enormous thirst for energy; we need to learn how to conserve.

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