Question. What do you think should happen in the SCANA nuclear plant debacle? Is this what you think will happen?
Answer. I think that management and shareholders should suffer the brunt of the failure of the nuclear power plant. I think we should reduce the nuclear rate premium to zero and put some — if not all — of the bad actors in jail. But another company like Dominion will probably acquire SCANA and assume responsibility for the Jenkinsville construction site. The General Assembly fired the Public Service Commission and has moved to reconstitute the Public Service Commission board. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Q. South Carolina lawmakers are considering the impact of the expanding solar industry. What is your position on solar energy?
A. There has been a subsidy, provided by state legislators, to kick-start the solar industry in South Carolina. That worked. There are more than 3,000 solar-related jobs in the state now. In my view, we need to do two things: We should remove all caps on the creation of solar energy. We also should stop the solar subsidy. Solar should compete on equal footing with all other forms of energy production.
Q. Biking and outdoor enthusiasts are excited that the bridges to Hilton Head Island will be replaced in about five years with a new design that will be bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Can you help us find funding to extend the pathway connectivity over the bridges to Hilton Head and onto the mainland?
A. If, after the bridge design and public input phase is exhausted and it reflects a need for additional capacity for bike and pedestrian traffic, I’d be happy to push whatever buttons I am able to secure more funding. Bridge funding will come from three areas: local, state and federal. Locally, there is a referendum in the fall to tax revenue for this project. Our commitment to the project, as measured by our willingness to tax ourselves to pay for it, says a lot to the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank, and from the state’s perspective, this project must go through the infrastructure bank. Finally, from the federal level, there is money available for the repair of the eastbound lane spanning MacKays Creek. We would prefer to use the money available for that work to construct the new bridge system.
Q. You are finishing up your second term. Has the reality of being an elected official differed from what you thought it would be like? If so, how?
A. From the outside looking in, it is hard to fathom why, when a good answer or solution is proffered to solve an evident problem, that solution isn’t immediately implemented. I’m not sure I had expected that there could be so many varied special interests on a single topic. But the members of the House—to a person—are smart and committed to improving South Carolina.
Q. What did you do to try to oppose offshore drilling in the Lowcountry? Do you think we will be successful?
A. I sided with Gov. Henry McMaster on this topic, and I will vote against any measure that promotes offshore drilling. I also voted against a proposed bill that would put giant wind turbines off our coast. I think we will dodge this bullet. We have no oil infrastructure on our coast, nor do we have an appetite to create one. Our wonderful coast is a state and national treasure. I will work to protect it.
Next month, State Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton will answer reader’s questions. Please submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.