Bill Would Help Protect South Carolina Coast from Offshore Drilling

South Carolina Senator Chip Campsen has introduced a bill that would serve as a large step forward in protecting the coast from the impacts of offshore drilling. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) submitted a letter to the South Carolina State House on why the Legislature should pass S. 870.

Chris Carnevale | January 14, 2020 | Offshore Drilling, South Carolina

Update on January 15, 2020: The bill just received its first vote in subcommittee to advance to the full Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee with a favorable recommendation. Thank you, Subcommittee Chairman Senator Stephen Goldfinch, and Subcommittee members Sens. Sheheen, Campbell, and Gregory for voting to protect our coast!

Coastal communities overwhelmingly oppose offshore drilling. According to the latest tally by ocean advocacy group Oceana, more than 280 local governments along the coasts of the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico have passed resolutions or taken some sort of official action against the prospect of drilling expansion and/or exploring for offshore oil and gas. For good reason: offshore drilling is dangerous, risky for the economy and environment, and there are cleaner and safer energy solutions available to pursue.

Read how electric vehicles decrease demand for risky offshore drilling.

Yet in spite of the massive, multi-partisan movement to save our shores from the impacts of offshore drilling, the official position of the federal government is to continue pressing for oil platforms off our coast.

South Carolina Senator Campsen’s bill, S. 870 wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.

South Carolina Leaders Aim to Take Protect Coastline

S. 870 would effectively prevent drilling off of South Carolina’s coast and protect our treasured beaches, wildlife, and tourist economy. 

It achieves this by prohibiting the state-level approval of: “a plan, permit, or license application for […] the construction or use of infrastructure for which the principal purpose is to facilitate the transportation of crude oil or natural gas into the territorial waters of South Carolina, or onto the lands of South Carolina, from offshore crude oil and natural gas production platforms or related infrastructure in the Atlantic Ocean [… and] activities for which the principal purpose is the exploration, development, or production of crude oil or natural gas” from the Atlantic Ocean.

When it Comes to Protecting our Coastline, Bipartisan Leaders Don’t Draw Lines in the Sand

The bill is strongly bipartisan. 31 of 46 Senators currently cosponsor it. The bill builds off of the widely supported passage (40-4 vote; with strong support from Governor Henry McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson) last year of a similar ban, but which is only applicable to the current fiscal year. The passage of S. 870 is important to extend the current offshore drilling ban into future years. We cannot take a chance and risk our shorelines to offshore drilling and seismic airgun testing. 

Show Your Support for the Coast, Stop Offshore Drilling

S. 870 has its first hearing in subcommittee Wednesday, January 15th.  SACE supports passage of the bill and to that end has submitted this letter to subcommittee chair Senator Stephen Goldfinch.

Contact your elected officials and let them know you support policies that protect our coast from the dangerous impacts of offshore drilling. Make your voice heard!

Chris Carnevale
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Chris is SACE’s Coastal Climate and Energy Manager and South Carolina State Affairs Liaison. His work focuses on building a critical mass of support for…
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