COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster on Friday announced his recommendations for the Savannah River Site settlement funds.

South Carolina received $525 million from the federal government over plutonium that is still being stored at the Savannah River Site. It comes after the state entered into an agreement with the Department of Energy.

After attorney fees, $525 million of those funds are now available to be allocated by the General Assembly. 

Gov. McMaster wants that money to go into transformative education, infrastructure, workforce, and economic development projects.

“For over 70 years, SRS has contributed mightily to the economic prosperity of the State and to the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) – while the men and women working at SRS made even greater contributions to our nation’s national security – and played a key role in winning the Cold War,” Gov. McMaster wrote in his letter to the General Assembly. “It is my belief that the communities surrounding SRS should be the prime beneficiaries of these settlement funds.”

He went on to say the settlement funds present the state with a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Gov. McMaster said making big, bold, and transformative investments in education, infrastructure and other vital areas will help to change the state’s future.

Gov. McMaster wants the Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority to approve each project prior to the distribution of funds.

“To counter the costs of rising inflation, Governor McMaster calls upon the General Assembly to pass the settlement funds in a stand-alone bill to allow for the funds to be appropriated immediately upon his approval,” his office said Friday. “If the General Assembly adds the settlement funds to the FY 2022/23 General Appropriations Act the money will not be available until July 1, 2022.”

South Carolina entered into an agreement with DOE, which resulted in a $600 million payment from the federal government to the state. After attorney fees, $525 million of those funds are now available to be allocated by the General Assembly.