The American Petroleum Institute released new numbers projecting a potential benefit to South Carolina from offshore drilling.
The report finds the state could make some big bucks from coastal exploration. The API study predicts South Carolina would see the highest level of spending totaling more than $1 billion over a 20 year period.
The data comes from projected revenue that would be generated from property taxes, personal income and payroll taxes, and corporate taxes.
More than $200 million would come from payroll taxes and $96 million from property taxes.
Data in the report shows that by year 5 of drilling the state could gain an excess of $2 million in income taxes.
Supporters of offshore drilling says the numbers in the report show the positive impact this added industry could have on the entire state.
Mark Harmon, the executive director of the SC Petroleum Council, explained the extra money could rebuild state infrastructure, lower property taxes, and fund education.
“Outside of the coast, even as inland as the Corridor of Shame that we’re all familiar with. One of the problems with those areas is that there isn’t enough funding. Well this could help with that without having to add anything to taxes,” explained Harmon.
For some the numbers sound good, but for those against the proposal they say the numbers don’t compare to the impact tourism already has on the state.
Peg Howell with Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic spoke with 7News via Skype and expressed concerns that drilling would impact tourism instead of helping it.
“Our coastal economy is worth 23 times what the very best estimate API can put out. All it takes is the reality of a spill the perception that it’s damaged our coast and wetlands before damage can come to our coastal economy.”
Mayor Billy Keyserling of Beaufort has joined a coalition of other coastal mayors opposing the idea. He added that tourism brings in more than $20 billion for the state and supports more than 600,000 jobs.
Harmon said the industry is working on curbing environmental and economic concerns. Harmon added that tourism and offshore drilling can coexist and that the average salary of the jobs associated with the industry are in the 6 figures.
To see a copy of the report click HERE