Widespread Support in African American Community for Sale of Santee Cooper

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Widespread Support in African American Community for Sale of Santee Cooper

Pictured Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce President Marilyn Hemingway

20 NAACP Branches, Church Leaders Unite in Calling for Sale of Failing State-Owned Utility

Georgetown – The Gullah Geechee Leadership Institute (GGLI) released a letter today signed by 20 South Carolina NAACP branches and African American church leaders endorsing a sale of Santee Cooper.

“Santee Cooper is known for over a decade’s worth of missteps, debt and failed projects that have cost ratepayers millions,” reads the letter. “We urge the General Assembly to sell Santee Cooper.”

Said GGLI Lead Advocate James L. Felder, “We are united in support of ending the Santee Cooper debacle now. Santee Cooper’s debt is an albatross that threatens to drag us down and burden our community for generations. We say it is not acceptable for South Carolina’s marginalized communities to bear the brunt of Santee Cooper’s legacy of mismanagement.”

Examples of Santee Cooper’s mismanagement cited in the joint letter include:
The failed VC Sumer nuclear plant, which contributed to Santee Cooper’s near-$7 billion debt
The failed Pee Dee Coal Plant costing $372 million and continuing millions in upkeep
Lack of diversity and inclusion in its executive staff
“Their blunders and mistakes are numerous, and we have waited years for solutions and resolutions that never happened,” the letter states.

Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce President Marilyn Hemingway said, “The small business community, especially those serving minority and marginalized communities need affordable, reliable energy to help keep their lights on and doors open for business. We applaud the leadership of these 20 NAACP branches, and our religious leaders, for coming together to support a sale of Santee Cooper.”

Said Felder, “It’s time for South Carolina to move forward. Santee Cooper is broken and cannot be reformed. The General Assembly has the opportunity to fix the problem, by selling Santee Cooper, and we all call on our elected representatives to make the right choice for our community and South Carolina.”

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SC GENERAL ASSEMBLY
March 23, 2021

We, the undersigned, send this open letter to the South Carolina General Assembly because we are disappointed with the management of Santee Cooper in its present form. In the words of Senator Hugh Leatherman of Florence and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he says, “I see no choice but to divest the state of what is increasingly not an asset but an albatross”.

Santee Cooper is known for over a decade’s worth of missteps, debt and failed projects that have cost ratepayers billions of dollars. Their blunders and mistakes are numerous, and we have waited years for solutions and resolutions that never happened.

Because of the debacle of the failed VC Summer Nuclear Plant in Fairfield County and the enormous mismanagement practices, Santee Cooper is nearly $7 billion in debt.

There is the failed Pee Dee Coal Plant near Florence that ratepayers are having to pay for because Santee Cooper abandoned the project in 2009 after spending $362 million on equipment, thousands of acres of land and materials on the site and upkeep costs millions every year.

Finally, there is the matter of diversity and inclusion. Santee Cooper’s claim of 21% minority representation on its executive staff is not a true representation of our state’s population. Procurement opportunities are questionable for minority businesses.

We understand that NextEra Energy, the largest green, renewable energy company in the USA with a proven track record of diversity, inclusion and community investment has offered a bid to purchase. Therefore, we urge the General Assembly to sell Santee Cooper.

Bishop F. C. James, Retired
AME Church, SC

Dr. Donald Greene, President
Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina

20 NAACP Branches:

Anderson Branch NAACP
Dominic Gibbs, President

Bamberg County NAACP
Dr. Gerald Wright, President

Batesburg/Leesville NAACP
R. O. Levy, President

Camden/Kershaw NAACP
Kenneth Carter, President

Chesterfield Branch NAACP
James Barber, President

Clarendon County Branch NAACP
Willie Briggs, President

Colleton County Branch NAACP
Edward Williams, President

Columbia Branch NAACP
Oveta Glover, President

Florence Branch NAACP
Jerry Keith, Jr, President

Darlington Branch
Anthony Hall, President

Western York Branch
Steve Love, Board Member

Georgetown Branch NAACP
Marvin Neal, President

Greenville Branch NAACP
Rev. J. Flemming, President

Laurens County NAACP
Rev. David Kennedy, President

Manning Branch NAACP
Bobby Fleming, President

North Charleston Branch
Phillip Scott, President

Orangeburg Branch NAACP
Barbara Johnson-Williams, President

Pageland Branch NAACP
Ural Bennett, President

Spartanburg Branch NAACP
Michael Brown, President

West Spartanburg NAACP
Rev. Eddie Parks, President

Contact: Jim Felder – (803) 261-0167 – James@GullahGeecheeLeadership.org

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