Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Blog

Energy, Climate, and the South Carolina Coastal Plain

by Alan Hancock

Through the special lens of our coastal conservation mission, the Coastal Conservation League’s Energy and Climate Program tackles the human health and environmental degradation caused by today’s energy systems.

We are protecting the coast from the oil and gas drilling that underlies a major share of the global climate crisis. And we are working with state regulators, energy companies, and others to establish a rational retirement plan for the five South Carolina coal-fired power plants that drive the vast majority of our electric power system climate emissions.

Both the oil drilling and power plants threaten the landscape and ecosystems we are sworn to protect. Drilling would affect the ocean and shore through rigs, refineries and pipelines. And each of the coal plants is located in our coastal plain, where they emit mercury, carbon dioxide, and smog-forming gases.

Not only the problems, but also the solutions are close at hand and intertwined. If we succeed at avoiding drilling and retiring dirty power plants, and replace them with a mix of clean energy sources, then we will have the capability to provide clean electric power for a greater share of building, industrial, and transportation needs—displacing problematic fossil fuels in both the power and transportation sectors.

Already, we have helped defeat one federal plan to drill off of our coast and we are fighting the second. Also, we have helped enact two landmark solar energy laws in South Carolina and we are hard at work getting them implemented to displace the maximum amount of polluting fossil-fueled energy. South Carolina’s coast is at the intersection of climate problems and solutions.  The Conservation League’s Energy and Climate Program is working to bring our people and resources together to make the solutions happen.


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