Gov. Nikki Haley has vetoed a desperately needed $1.1 million budget appropriation for emergency repairs and renovations to our own Waddell Mariculture Center. Her reasoning was that the. S.C. Department of Natural Resources should be using a portion of Waddell's annual operating budget. As the WMC budget is already at a subsistence level, $350,000 a year, it would take years to implement repairs that, according to engineers, are critical to the safety of both visitors and staff.
The WMC facility has been neglected by the state. The facility meets few building codes and is an energy black hole. If you ran saltwater flows throughout your home or business 24/7, yours would be trashed too.
The choice is to make the repairs and cease operations or to not repair and have to close the center to visitors. WMC hosts several thousand school children and visitors each year and is used by dozens of civic groups; it is an integral part of our community and an internationally-renowned facility.
If you are a S.C. fisherman and appreciate WMC's research and stocking programs or you are a local who values ecosystem education and water quality initiatives, you need to let Haley know that you are embarrassed by this neglect. Sen. Tom Davis, Reps. Bill Herbkersman and Weston Newton are working hard to get this overturned.
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The governor either doesn't know how a business operates or is re-enforcing the long-standing disconnect between Columbia and our coastal communities.
Hilton Head Island