On December 3, 2008, Mr. Daniel R. Dennis, III, President of Dennis Corporation, submitted the following testimony under oath to the South Carolina Public Service Commission’s Board concerning the construction and operation of two nuclear reactors to be constructed at the VC Summer Plant in Fairfield County, South Carolina. This was the second hearing that was held on this matter. The Public Service Commission serves as a court for cases involving utilities and other regulated companies. The Public Service Commission has broad jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the investor owned electric and gas utility companies, water companies, telecommunications companies, motor carriers of household goods, hazardous waste disposal and taxicabs.
The following account is an approximate testimony of what Mr. Daniel R. Dennis, III presented to the Board of the South Carolina Public Service Commission on Wednesday, December 3, 2008. The full transcript of his testimony will be available at a later date.
- DENNIS: Madame Chair, thank you and your board for the opportunity to speak to you tonight. My name is Daniel R. Dennis, III. I reside at 13 Governors Hill, Columbia, SC 29201. I am 40 years old. I am a graduate of The Citadel with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering. I am also a graduate of The Citadel’s Evening College with a Masters of Business Administration. I am a Registered Engineer in 12 states, most in the Southeast. I am also a Registered Land Surveyor in South Carolina.
I own a farm and a second residence in Fairfield County that is close to the existing nuclear facility. The address of that property is 8213 Newberry Road, Winnsboro, South Carolina 29180. The farm is approximately 130 acres. On this farm, I grow fruit trees and timber. I have approximately 500 fruit trees currently in production.
On this property, there is a small cemetery with approximately 30 graves within the cemetery. None of the graves are marked, except for one headstone with the name of a young girl, Hannah Williams. She died at age 11 in 1820. When I walk around the property, I wonder, what did she look like? What did she do for fun? Why did she die at such a young age? I do not know the answers to these questions, but I do know that Hannah did not have the energy that we have today. She could not turn on a light switch, and she certainly did not have air conditioning.
I am also a business owner. I own Dennis Corporation, a civil engineering, surveying and construction management firm. We currently employ 80 professionals, 10 of which reside in Fairfield County, accounting for more than 10% of our work force. My firm serves as the Fairfield County Engineer and also performs work for the Town of Winnsboro and the Town of Ridgeway. Our corporate office is in Columbia, but we have a branch office in Winnsboro located at 118 South Congress Street, Winnsboro, South Carolina 29180.
Why have I mentioned this information? As some might say, I have skin in the deal, and I certainly am a concerned citizen. Now let me start by saying to this board that I am in favor of this project. Let me repeat myself and make myself perfectly clear. I am in favor of these projects for the following reasons:
- The project is good for Fairfield County. This County is poor, rural and needs these plants.
- This project is good for South Carolina. We need the energy. I am a good businessman, but I didn’t start an engineering firm that within three years has grown to 80 employees because I’m that good. Our firm has grown because of the massive infrastructure needs within our state that are due to the tens of thousands of people who move here every year.
- This project is good for the United States. It means less dependence on foreign oil. More importantly, it means our armed forces are more likely to come home sooner. To me, personally, it means that my brother and my fellow Citadel classmates who are serving our country will no longer have to defend us for foreign oil.
- This project is good for our planet. It reduces carbon emissions.
- I don’t want to be called a hypocrite, and therefore, I would like to say that this project is good for Dennis Corporation. We recently bid on a project for the new plant’s infrastructure and we were proud to be the low bidder. Although it was a small project and I have given Mr. Steve Byrne some grief about it, we are proud to work on their site.
- I am in favor of this project because of SCE&G. Over the years since the first plant was built, they have proved themselves. It is a very safe, reliable and expertly run facility.
- SCE&G has also hired one of the best contractors in the United States, and most likely the world, to construct their new plants. This company is The Shaw Group.
Prior to my testimony, there were testimonies by others about the current, long-term drought in South Carolina. Obviously, our state is in a drought; I know this from a personal standpoint. Since I don’t irrigate my fruit trees on my farm, I consistently have to replace approximately ten percent of my trees each year because they die due to lack of water.
The drought is not, as some say in this room, being caused by the existing nuclear plant. In fact, this plant, and others around the world that need to be built, will prevent global warming, which in my opinion is causing the drought. Global warming is occurring because we are not building enough nuclear plants.
There was prior testimony given by others concerning the Town of Jenkinsville nearby this plant. Those comments stated that those residents need jobs and that SCE&G continues to increase their utility rates which they cannot afford to pay. If there is someone in this room from Jenkinsville who needs a job, please give me a call and I will do my best to put you to work.
In closing, THE FRIENDS OF THE EARTH are wrong. These plants need to be built. They must be built. I ask you, the board, tonight, to do the right thing and grant SCE&G permission to go forward with this project.
Madame Chair, thank you again for the opportunity to speak to you and your board tonight.
(End of testimony)