COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Conservation Voters of South Carolina, Coastal Conservation League, Sierra Club of South Carolina, Audubon South Carolina and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation announced today that a bipartisan group of 15 Republicans and 17 Democrats in the South Carolina General Assembly sent a letter today to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) objecting to efforts to open the Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling.
“We are writing to express our strong opposition to the inclusion of the Mid and South Atlantic planning areas in the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
The 32 signers include House and Senate leaders from both parties and from every region of the state.
They added, “We cannot afford to risk our natural beauty, distinctive sense of place, fragile ecology, and the multitude of outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities for the purported benefits of offshore oil and gas drilling. Doing so would be a step backward for our great state.”
With the renewed threat of offshore drilling in South Carolina, conservation organizations and grassroots groups have seen tens of thousands of citizens across the state raise their voices in opposition to seismic testing.
“I’m against offshore drilling because I know and have experienced firsthand the impact that drilling can have on coastal communities. The onshore infrastructure is highly industrial, expensive, expansive, and unseemly. South Carolina has a coastal land use pattern completely incompatible with offshore drilling. We do not need and should not allow drilling off the South Carolina coast.” — Senator Chip Campsen
“This letter confirms that offshore drilling is a nonstarter in South Carolina. From the Upstate to the Lowcountry, among Republicans and Democrats, South Carolinians know that drilling would harm the health of our families, pollute the air, land, and water we love, and threaten our way of life. The risk isn’t worth it. These leaders know it and South Carolinians know it. We’re making sure the federal government knows it, too.” — John Tynan, CVSC Executive Director
“I thank these public officials who have signed the letter to BOEM for their recognition of the adverse consequences offshore oil and gas exploration and development poses to our coast. It is unimaginable that we would want to transform our beaches, marshes and scenic coastal environment into an industrial zone and threaten our cherished way of life and harm our significant wildlife and marine resources.” — Ben Gregg, Executive Director, South Carolina Wildlife Federation
“There is no place quite like South Carolina — and offshore drilling is simply not compatible with our fragile ecosystem. Threatening major sources of state revenue and jobs from the coast’s tourism and fisheries is unquestionably the wrong decision for South Carolina.” — Christopher Hall, S.C. Sierra Club Chair
“I applaud the efforts of Senator Campsen and other members of the General Assembly who have signed this letter. South Carolina’s coast provides critical habitat for nesting and migrating shorebirds and there are already enough pressures on the birds without introducing new ones. Birding is an important contributor to our state’s tourism economy. Being good stewards of our coast for future generations is a top priority for Audubon and our members.” — Sharon Richardson, Audubon South Carolina Executive Director
FOUR FAST FACTS
- Between 1964 and 2015, BOEM estimates that approximately 5.2 million barrels of oil have been spilled during offshore drilling operations in U.S. waters – an average of over 80,000 gallons of oil spilled every week for 51 years. 1
- At current consumption rates, the amount of recoverable oil and gas off South Carolina’s coast would meet domestic energy demand for only six days. 2
- It would take six years of offshore wind production in South Carolina to generate more energy than that contained in all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas. 2
- In 20 years, offshore wind would generate the equivalent of about one and a half billion barrels of oil more than all of South Carolina’s economically recoverable oil and gas. 2