The U-S Minerals Management Service is holding two hearings in North Charleston today. SCRN spoke to Carol Fagot of the MMS from the command center on the Gulf Coast that is dealing with a major oil leak from a BP rig. She says they are laying the groundwork to understand any of the offshore resources that South Carolina may have.
“We ask the public to share with us their concerns and to consider the proposed actions and suggest possible alternatives, so that’s what we are doing in Charleston,” says Fagot.
MMS is the federal regulatory agency that manages the nation’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The White House has begun the process of reviewing the Atlantic Coast area for potential oil and natural gas exploration. Fagot says in looking for mineral resources, they must also consider other resources the area offers.
“We do these all the time, and there are certain things that as a federal agency we know we have to include, but if officials in the area are aware that there’s a certain area that perhaps they know of does seem that there’s certain wildlife, or they know there’s a special fishing area that they have a concern that might be impacted, they need to let us know so we look specifically at that,” says Fagot.
The Department of the Interior will only assess what might be there.
“Only to assess what might be there. Perhaps in looking at oil and gas activities or sand and gravel activities because we also regulate marine minerals and sand and grass would be for beach re-nourishment. It could also be to site alternative energy and renewable energy site,” says Fagot.
That includes the feasibility of the area being a site for windmills for energy. The MMS says the process of studying the area for potential use take years and more rounds of public hearings.
The second meeting for the public is tonight at 7:00 at Embassy Suites, North Charleston.