COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A Republican who represents part of South Carolina’s lush coastline says the Trump administration’s proposal to expand offshore drilling could cause massive environmental damage and is “horrible public policy.”
State Sen. Tom Davis told The Associated Press on Thursday that the land-based infrastructure needed for offshore exploratory efforts are “simply not compatible with coastal South Carolina.”
The proposal unveiled by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans.
Republicans within South Carolina’s congressional delegation have been split on the issue of offshore drilling. Rep. Mark Sanford, who previously served eight years as the state’s governor, opposes it. But U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan issued a news release Thursday calling the plan “tremendous news for American energy independence.”
Representative Mark Sanford released the following statement on the administration’s new plan to open nearly 90 percent of all U.S. waters to offshore drilling activities:
The issue for me has ultimately always been about local control. Whether you are for or against offshore drilling, I think we could all agree that locals should have some degree of voice on what happens in their backyard. Accordingly, I think it speaks very loudly that every single coastal municipality in South Carolina – and over 140 municipalities along the East Coast – have formally opposed oil and gas development off the Atlantic coast.
“Unfortunately, this proposal explicitly ignores local opposition because it is the single largest expansion of offshore drilling activity ever proposed. In the case of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, drilling hasn’t been allowed in over thirty years. I don’t think the arguments in favor of changing this policy are there, particularly when weighed against what most engineers suspect would be at most a four-month supply of oil reserves for our country.”
This afternoon, the Department of the Interior released a draft, five-year program (2019-2024) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf, which outlines its plans to expand future oil and gas leasing to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico.