S.C. GOP candidates for governor back natural gas drilling, split on offshore oil exploration

COLUMBIA --- The four Republicans running for governor of South Carolina support drilling for natural gas off South Carolina's shores and pushing the federal government to remove nuclear waste from the state. But they have different views on the type of oil exploration that has led to the massive Gulf oil spill.

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U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, state Rep. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Henry McMaster all say natural gas reserves off South Carolina's coast could be an economic boon to the state and help the country become energy independent.

Barrett predicts tapping into natural gas would create thousands of jobs and perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties. He proposes putting 70 percent of that revenue toward infrastructure, 20 percent to law enforcement and 10 percent into renewable energies.

Some experts doubt that commercially feasible oil exists off South Carolina's coast, but three candidates want to explore, provided safeguards are in place. Haley compared the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to a plane crash.

"We don't stop all the planes from flying. What we do is we look at that accident, we learn from it and say, 'What do we need to do to make sure that it doesn't happen again?' " Haley said.

Bauer said the $75 million federal cap on oil spill liability, beyond direct cleanup costs, must be lifted to lead companies to use the latest technology and equipment.

McMaster had more reservations, saying it might be impossible to ensure oil drilling can be done without a spill.

"If we mess up this coastline, we'll never get it back," he said. "Then we have ruined ourselves for the future because that's part of the economic engine."

Barrett, Bauer and McMaster said outright that any drilling rigs must be far enough off shore to be out of sight from land. Barrett said no structures within 20 miles of the coast. Haley said she would study the rigs' effects on the environment and tourism before deciding.

All four champion the expansion of nuclear energy, both for job creation and as a clean energy solution. They support promoting other alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydrogen, but say only nuclear currently offers substantial energy output.

All four believe plans for Nevada's Yucca Mountain must get back on track so highly radioactive nuclear waste isn't permanently stored in South Carolina.

About the package

The candidates in the June 8 primary offered their thoughts on energy policy during a series of interviews with The Associated Press.

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SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 05/31/10 - 08:28 am
Why don't reporters ask these

Why don't reporters ask these politico-candidates where the plan is that all the high-level waste was going to be removed from SRS? There is no such plan. These people are calling for Yucca Mountain as they support bringing radioactive spent fuel to SRS for reprocessing, a dangerous and nasty process that will make South Carolina the nation's nuclear dump. There will be strong push-back on the scheme, which would enrich special interests and leave citizens and the environment holding the bag.

gaspringwater 06/01/10 - 04:22 pm
Is this news? Republicans,

Is this news? Republicans, advocates and boosters for Big oil, Big Gas, Big Nuclear, and every other kind of business comes first and foremost scheme. They're for clean but nuclear is NOW and BETTER.

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