QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA 1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Prepared by Pete Silveston and the Robert Lunz Group Executive committee
PREFACE: The Robert Lunz Group of the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club with almost a thousand members is a major group in this constituency concerned with conservation of our natural resources, outdoor recreation and the health of the environment. Your answers to the questions which follow will be distributed to Group members via our newsletter. Copies will also be sent to the Post & Courier and to the local weekly papers. If you wish, you may attach a statement to your reply to our questions.
QUESTION 1: The Savannah River site of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency continues to receive atomic wastes from across the nation and appears to have become a de facto disposal site for the country. What are your views of this issue ? Should the State welcome the jobs created or should disposal be controlled for just wastes generated in the State or for wastes generated from nearby States through State-to-State negotiations ? Should the Federal Government regulate location of disposal sites and interstate transport of wastes ?
QUESTION 2: Some counties in the State propose opening or expanding landfill sites to accept wastes from other States or other South Carolina counties. Recognising that transport on roadways of other counties may be involved, and odor and runoff problem that may cross county borders can occur, should control of landfill, or, indeed, other waste processing operations, occur at the county level or at the State level ? Does the Federal Government have a role to play in devising rules for waste disposal decisions ? How can we promote recycle over landfill/waste disposal ?
QUESTION 3: It is widely agreed that this Congressional District will experience a large influx of people, probably retirees, in the coming decades. How should the District prepare for this influx ? The questions which follow address this question of population growth.
QUESTION 4: Should we create green space as parks or nature reserves in the District to preserve native flora and fauna and for recreational purposes such as hiking, camping, hunting and fishing ? Should land preservation be done with public funds ? If so, how should the funds be raised ? State or local taxes ? Bond issue ? Does private initiative (business) have a role to play ?
QUESTION 5: Cap’n Sams Spit, on the western end of Kiawah island, has been proposed for a large housing development by the property owner (a private company). The spit is now undergoing erosion by a tidal river and has been washed over by the ocean several times in recent history. Future flooding and destruction will require certainly large expenditures of public funds. Attempts to halt development through ligation have failed. What are your views on this issue ? Should the State or the Federal Governments acquire the land for green space or recreation ? Is this a federal issue ? How do you balance the rights of developers versus the risks of bailouts using public funds for developments on environmentally risky land ?
QUESTION 6: Road building and roadway expansion consumes public land and increases air pollution, run-off and noise. Should local or State government promote public transport, such as buses ( preferably electric) or light rail to reduce reliance on roads ?
QUESTION 7: Extension of the Rte. 526, the Mark Clark Highway, to Johns Island is proposed to reduce congestion, improve mobility and facilitate evacuation from the Sea Islands. Do you favor completion ?
QUESTION 8: Use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gs) destroys the environment through mining or fracking, contributes to air pollution and to global warming. How can we in this District promote alternative energy use ? What can the Federal government do ? The next questions deal with promotion of alternative energy use.
QUESTION 9: Permitting solar leasing in South Carolina is currently stalled in the Legislature because of monopolies granted to utilities on the sale of electricity. This type of leasing allows businesses and public bodies, such as schools, to reduce their electricity costs and could substantially expand the use of solar energy. What is your position on solar leasing ? Does the Federal Government have a role in this issue ? What could be done ?
QUESTION 10: South Carolina, unlike many other states, does not have an alternative energy mandate. Should one be created by the Legislature ? Should there be a Federal alternative energy mandate ?
QUESTION 11: South Carolinians delight in rich, delicious chocolate. To promote the consumption of quality grade chocolate, do you favor reducing the import duty on Swiss Choccalate ? (Question submitted by my Swiss son-in-law)
Excerpts from Mark Sanford’s response by letter were:
“Your questionnaire was most comprehensive and would require thoughts and detail and I think further explanation rather then yes/no to many questions such that I would like to come back to it. It deserves time.
All I can say is to call Dana Beach at the Coastal Conservation League as to get a glimpse of how I've approached conservation and environmental issues both during my previous time in Congress and the Governorship...as you may know I was the only Republican Governor to receive the endorsement of your organization, which was the case during my second run for Governorship of South Carolina.
………during my Governorship we were very aggressive in trying to preserve land and more land was set aside and protected in my eight years, more then any other time period during South Carolina history. Additionally, we worked with Senator Chip Campsen and others in funding the conservation bank which contributed to that effort.”
Excerpts from Eugene Platt's response by letter were:
Question 1: ”……The Federal Government should regulate and, ultimately, be responsible for proper disposal , as well as interstate transportation, of all nuclear waste produced in our country.”
Question 2: “Proper transportation and disposal of (non-nuclear) waste should be handled by the individual counties affected---but regulated by the State. Yes, the Federal Government has a role when such waste impacts on interstate commerce. Educating the public on its advantages may be the best way to promote recycling over landfill/waste disposal. Also, recycling centers (including drop-off sites) should be as convenient to as many people as feasible.”
Question 3: “……..the First Congressional District should prepare for the expected influx by having in place legislation and regulations to protect sensitive environmental areas, especially the beaches, marshes, wetlands in general.”
Question 4: “Yes, we should designate and protect as much green space as possible. Such land preservation is best accomplished with public funds to preclude involvement by individuals or entities with ulterior goals not in the best interests of the public and/or the environment. The State income tax (and certainly not additional sales taxes) would be the best way to pay for this. The role of “private initiative” should be limited---and carefully monitored.”
Question 5: “……. Irresponsible developers dro not consider him their friend. His feelings are reflected in this prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: ‘For the Conservation of Natural Resources”
Question 6: “Yes, government at all levels (local, State, Federal) should promote public transportation. The advantages of “commuter rail” over “light rail” should not be dismissed.”
Question 7: “No elected official in South Carolina has been more vocally, consistently opposed to the proposed extension of I-526 than Eugene Platt.”
Question 8: “…….We in the First Congressional District can lobby elected officials and speak out in favor of alternative energy use on all appropriate occasions.”
Question 9: “I support the leasing of solar panels. Although this is more of a State issue than a Federal one, the Federal Government could allow income tax deductions for solar leasing just as it does for other energy-enhancement costs.”
Question 10: “Yes, there should be alternative energy mandates at both the state and federal levels.”
There was no reply from Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.