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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks in Aiken about storm cleanup, MOX

Todd Bennett/ Staff
AIKEN -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley makes a point today during a visit to the Aiken Republican Club.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:49 PM
Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 2:02 AM
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AIKEN — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley asked that President Obama declare almost half of her state a federal disaster area after last month’s ice storm caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley speaks to members of the Aiken Republican Club during a luncheon at Newberry Hall in North Augusta.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley speaks to members of the Aiken Republican Club during a luncheon at Newberry Hall in North Augusta.

Haley filed a federal disaster declaration on Tuesday, asking that 21 of the state’s 46 counties be made eligible for federal disaster assistance.

“The damages across the state were $54 million from that ice storm,” Haley said Wednesday, speaking to the Aiken Republican Club. “We certainly haven’t had anything like that in a long, long time.”

The storm caused 347,000 power outages that Haley said were restored in a week. Haley, who visited Aiken County in the storm’s immediate aftermath, applauded utility workers and residents for coming together during two winter storms that hit the state.

“What I appreciated was the way Team South Carolina stepped up in both occasions and really made us proud in the way they handled it,” she said.

Haley’s visit came a day after a federal budget proposal recommended placing Savannah River Site’s mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility on standby to assess more cost-effective methods for disposing of plutonium. According to the National Nuclear Security Administration, $3.9 billion has been spent building the 600,000-square-foot MOX plant, which is about 60 percent complete. Cost estimates for the program’s life-cycle grew to $30 billion.

“I don’t think we are looking at a termination of MOX,” Haley said after speaking to the club. “I think what you’re looking at is the federal government saying this is too expensive for us to continue on; we have to find another plan.”

Haley said that she met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz several weeks ago and that she will continue working with South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to find best-case scenarios for Savannah River Site. The governor added that she’s concerned about jobs for the area and will continue to recruit private-sector employers to stabilize the area economy.

“The one argument I made is this is a facility that is efficient and effective. If you line it up with the other facilities in the country, it’s our best,” Haley said. “Why are we hurting our best?”

Haley said Moniz plans to follow up on an invitation from South Carolina lawmakers to visit SRS.

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RichmanA2 03/05/14 - 04:30 pm
Hypocrisy at it's finest

So Governor Haley, after spending years preaching against the evils of "big government", slashing funds for all parts of government in her own state, and criticizing President Obama for just about everything he does, good bad or otherwise,
is now asking for the President and FEMA to help her state in the winter storm "disaster".
Really? So, we hate big government, and FEMA, and Obama, and the Feds.....until we need them? SC Republicans gladly rejected expanding funds for medical care from the Federal government, but
when the it hits the fan, she runs to the government asking them to bail her out of the mess that her downsized DOT cant handle now? Hypocrisy at it's finest.

myfather15 03/06/14 - 07:41 am
Oooh my goodness!! We need

Oooh my goodness!! We need her to come speak to us in Georgia too!!

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 03/06/14 - 12:16 pm
Haley bloviates on inefficient MOX project

MOX is "is efficient and effective"?! What? Haley isn't paying any attention and should just keep such embarrassing misstatements to herself. A little homework on MOX would have helped. The MOX plant cost estimate started out below $1 billion and steadily increased every year until it's now officially at $7.7 billion and an internal DOE assessment seems to peg it closer to $10 billion. The overall MOX program could be $30 billion, far over budget and enough to make real fiscal conservatives angry. MOX is a text-book case of a failed federal project that has been totally mismanaged yet Haley can call it "efficient?" Wow! Gov. Haley is showing her big-government, big-spending roots. She needs to get informed what's happen with the failed MOX project and not just say untrue, ignorant things off the top of her head. Calling for MOX managers heads to roll would be a good start for Haley to show she is at least aware sad situation that has gone down on the back of tax payers. She will be blown away in any discussions with DOE if she persists in her choice of ignorance over facts.

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