As part of an effort to reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil, President Obama on Wednesday announced the lifting of the 20-year ban on offshore drilling along much of the U.S. Atlantic and northern Alaska.. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the U.S. Atlantic coast could hold as much as 37 trillion cubic feet of gas and four billion barrels of oil. Dana Beach, Executive Director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League says he is not worried that the Palmetto State’s coastline will soon be disturbed by the drilling because experts have stated that South Carolina shoreline is not a place to be searching for crude.
“Of all the places in the country where there might be oil, South Carolina is one of the least likely. In fact, Mineral Management has evaluated the different areas that were off limits to offshore drilling and South Carolina ranks among the lowest in probability of finding recoverable supplies of oil and among the highest in environmental sensitivity.”
South Carolina’s U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has consistently been a strong advocate for offshore drilling.
Beach say he hopes that state leaders do not focus too long on the issue, because they need to be focusing on energy issues that will actually help the state’s economy grow like better efficiency and energy alternatives. “We all hope that we will work to see that it doesn’t divert us from raising the level of energy efficiency and also tapping in the renewable resources that we do have in some abundance, wind being the main one. We also have substantial employment already in south Carolina in wind, we really don’t have any in petroleum,” says Beach.
Beach says the future also looks promising in South Carolina in the area of biofuels converted from sources like switchgrass and the residue from chicken processing.