The South Carolina shoreline should be opened for offshore drilling says Sen. Lindsey Graham and he is sponsoring a plan in Congress try to make that happen.
In a joint press conference with Gov. Nikki Haley and 3rd District Congressman Jeff Duncan, Graham said it will take all three of their offices to push the idea in Washington and in South Carolina.
“Off the coast of South Carolina, we have oil and gas deposits, according to the surveys, that would allow this nation to become more energy independent, that would create more jobs in South Carolina than Boeing and BMW combined, and would, because of the nature of the legislation, create a revenue stream for the state of South Carolina,” said Graham.
Graham said he is teaming up with members of Congress from Virginia in a bill to allow the two states to control drilling for oil or natural gas off of their shores.
The plan would designate a buffer zone for the first 10 miles off of the coast. Then it would be up to the governor and General Assembly to decide where drilling should happen –between 10 and 50 miles offshore. The 50-100 miles beyond that would be open for leasing.
Though Haley and GOP leaders in the House and Senate have grappled over major issues in the past two years, she says when it comes to jobs, ”We have a good Legislature that is pro-business.”
Graham says 37.5 percent of fuel revenue would go back to South Carolina.
Graham, seven years ago, expressed concern over drilling off of South Carolina. He says he likes the idea of a buffer zone to protect beach tourism.
And he says the world has changed,”The world is about to blow up. The amount of oil and gas deposits owned by people who hate our guts is becoming more, not less. And I am now convinced that the way to move forward as a nation is to do all-of-the-above, including offshore drilling—only if my state agrees to it.”
Energy interests in South Carolina sponsored a study by Harry Miley, former state economist and advisor to Gov. Carroll Campbell. He projects that, once in operation, offshore drilling could bring $87.5 million a year in taxes and royalties to the state. They predict more than seven thousand related jobs by year 2030.
AUDIO: Listen to excerpt of press conference (25:00)