From Scott Carlberg

South Carolina lakes are protected. Have been, will always be.

The issue was raised briefly on a terrific clean energy webcast March 31 moderated by the South Carolina Conservation Coalition.

In reviewing the management, sale and reform concepts for Santee Cooper, it is good to see this lakes rumor officially go away. The Department of Administration report shows that the lakes are just fine no matter who oversees the Santee Cooper territory.

Dominion, Nextera and Santee Cooper all make certain the lakes are protected because a new lake licensee must follow the same rules as the old licensee. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), lake regulator, told Energy Consumers of the Carolinas months ago, “To transfer a license, the licensee and designated transferee must jointly or severally file an application for approval with the Commission. When a transfer occurs, the new licensee must comply with the terms and conditions of the existing license.

Lakes are important, secure, protected by FERC, SC state agencies and various laws. Among them: Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

In fact, Santee Cooper has not updated its lakes license since 2006. Meanwhile, Duke Energy has relicensed an entire lake and river system complete with a comprehensive relicensing agreement signed by South Carolina agencies including the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism as well as local cities, towns and counties that share the lake and river resources.

Utilities must file Shoreline Management Plans. Check how robust these SMPs are from Carolina IOUs.

In the end, lakes are long-term, protected assets, not because of Santee Cooper or another utility, but due to the state and federal regulatory oversight that will continue to govern their care.