What Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy means for Aiken

Published: Dec. 14, 2016 at 5:31 PM EST
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Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 News 12 First at Five

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- As President-elect Donald Trump's transition team announces more picks for his cabinet, the Secretary of Energy is one people in Aiken County are keeping an eye on.

"Of course we're all very enthusiastic Governor Rick Perry has stepped forward to lead the department of energy," Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in New York.

The Department of Energy's newest leader Rick Perry brings a change to the department, but local leaders hope he also brings change and progress to SRS.

"He gets it, he understands about the national lab at SRS and MOX, he knows the importance of it to Aiken, Aiken County. I think he'll give super attention to this issue from him," South Carolina Rep. Bill Taylor said.

Taylor texted with Perry this morning encouraging him to visit Aiken to learn more about places like SRS and what's going on there. One of the biggest hopes locally is more spending for the still unfinished MOX facility, which Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Jameson says keeps jobs in Aiken.

"We hope that they will actually increase MOX spending on a per year basis, so it accelerates the construction and we get the project finished without dragging it on like we've been doing for years and years," Jameson said.

Another problem, getting nuclear waste out of South Carolina.

"He believes in a repository, so maybe we'll see Yucca Mountain open up again, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing," Taylor said.

Other South Carolina leaders like Representative Joe Wilson also shared their thoughts on the pick saying, "I know Governor Perry's background of positive growth will create jobs." Wilson also added, "with Rick Perry, I am confident we can accomplish an "all of the above" energy policy-- one that includes finishing Yucca Mountain, supporting SRS, completing MOX..."