It’s a debate among leaders at the national and state levels, but offshore drilling is set to get the go-ahead from a South Carolina feasibility study committee made up of legislators. Berkeley Senator Paul Campbell Jr. is chairman of that committee and says what they have found so far.
“We know that it’s safe, we know that it can be done, it’s gonna be done offshore probably anywhere from 35 to 100 miles offshore, which we feel pretty confident that there is gas out there in the Carolina trough that runs between North Carolina and South Carolina, and probably has gas. I don’t know that there’s much oil out there, but there’s a lot of natural gas, and, again we need to take advantage of it, the good Lord put it here, and we need to go out and find it and use it for the good of South Carolinians and the citizens of the United States,” says Campbell.
Campbell, along with other committee members, will recommend asking a federal agency for South Carolina to be included in a five-year plan that would allow access for the state to conduct offshore natural gas drilling. He says if this recommendation is approved, the state needs to be prepared.
“We do need to make sure in South Carolina that if we do find something offshore that we do a good job at protecting the environment, and protecting the tourism business, and we can do that and still go after the natural gas,” says Campbell.
There is opposition to this drilling plan, as environmentalists have concerns that certain energy companies would drill for oil where natural gas is also found. Campbell says some of these arguments are void.
“They keep trying to throw in leakage and spillage, but when Hurricane Rita and Katrina hit the gulf, and it dis-lodged it, it destroyed something like 40 platforms, but no leakage came from the platforms. There was some leakage, but the leakage came from vessels, from boats, from pleasure craft, from commercial craft,” says Campbell.
In a recent Post and Courier article, it states: “Opening the Atlantic to drilling is controversial. Proponents says the country needs new energy sources, and state officials are seeking new revenue sources. Economic, environmental and tourism interests says the limited potential is not worth endangering the beaches.”
The recommendation is expected to be released some time before September 1.