Santee Cooper’s Lake Stewardship Supports Quality of Life and Economy
Facts ARE Facts
The fact is, Santee Cooper is much more than a utility provider and that is important to remember because the work we do, aside from providing power, has tremendous impact. We accept the concern and anxiety that our status has created, and we know that change is required to regain the confidence so many have placed in us through the years. That trust comes from a long history of producing low-cost power and providing heralded customer service, but it’s also a result of the other important roles we play in support of South Carolina’s incredible freshwater resources. Rest assured, we remain committed to our entire mission, and our current situation will not impede that mission as provider of power, nor will we betray your trust in Santee Cooper as the caretaker and protector of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. Because the fact is, we are so much more than “just a state-owned utility.”
In ongoing social media campaigns by advocacy groups critical of Santee Cooper, key facts are either being replaced with fiction or omitted altogether, which conveniently minimizes the full impact of Santee Cooper. The poorly informed characterize Santee Cooper as “just a utility.”
The anglers, families, recreational boaters, residents, tourists and retirees who enjoy the waters of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie know different. They understand the important and impactful role Santee Cooper plays on a daily basis in managing, protecting and supporting the lakes that they cherish, and that others benefit through safe drinking water and employment opportunities. Many know the beauty and uniqueness of Sparkleberry Swamp on Lake Marion, which has been recognized by the Audubon Society as an important bird area, and named the 2018 Carolinas Wetland Treasure of the Year by the Carolina Wetlands Association. And they are concerned about the future of the lakes and the scant attention they feel the lakes are receiving from these advocacy group-aligned critics.
Here are the facts: Santee Cooper oversees over 450 miles of scenic shoreline along Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie, making it available for citizens, residents and tourists to enjoy. That shoreline includes 40 miles of dams and dikes that require annual inspections and maintenance. We also provide almost 35,000 acres that are either federally or state managed to protect and preserve natural habitats.
Santee Cooper supports, protects and maintains access to the lakes at 21 boat ramps along the waterfront, and at additional recreational draws including Overton Park on Lake Moultrie, several stretches of the Palmetto Trail beginning in McClellanville that connects to the Foothills Trail in the Upstate, and the Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner.
Santee Cooper the power provider and Santee Cooper the “caretaker of the lakes” go hand-in-hand. Whether it is the world-class drinking water the lakes help provide or their role in cooling the equipment at generating stations, the lakes are an integral part of Santee Cooper.
Advocacy groups that are focused on just one part of Santee Cooper operations minimize the effect the Santee Cooper Lakes have in generating $434 million annually in Berkeley, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Clarendon and Sumter counties, the five counties bordering the lakes. These lakes directly support the employment of 3,620 people.
For decades, our team has focused on protecting and maintaining the lakes for the betterment of this state. Protecting and managing these lakes will always be part of OUR mission.