Congressman Gresham Barrett is taking issue with fellow Congressman Jim Clyburn’s concerns over the Gulf oil leak. Clyburn says “I believe the oil spill in the Gulf Coast is a wake-up call. South Carolina’s number one industry is tourism, and if we succumb to the lure of offshore drilling, our coastline could see the same scenario play out here.”
Clyburn’s position does not reflect the White House view, but Barrett, who is running for governor, says he wants the entire Congressional delegation to be on the same side:
It is a wake up call. It’s a wake-up call to say that that we need to find alternative sources of energy. But until we do that, we need to make sure we use every tool in the toolbox and one of those alternatives is natural gas. It’s clean and it’s a way that South Carolina to affect not only its own economy, but the national economy.
Clyburn says we need to focus attention and investments on alternative energy:
We know that as a country we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We must also do more to protect our environment and reduce carbon emissions. That’s why I support a clean energy plan for the future that diversifies our energy investments in a smorgasbord of alternative energy sources. For instance, the $45 million Recovery Act grant for Clemson’s wind turbine facility in North Charleston has the potential to create 10,000-20,000 new jobs and make South Carolina the national leader in this alternative energy source. Our colleges and universities are also on the cutting edge of hydrogen and biofuel development, and our nuclear industry is far ahead of most of the nation on this emissions-free energy source. Alternative energy represents the economy of the future, not the failed policies of the past.
Barrett says offshore drilling is necessary for the state—but for natural gas, not oil.
Off the coast of South Carolina is four billion cubic feet of natural gas which is totally different from what is happening in the Gulf. According to the National Petroleum Institute, that could be 2, 200 jobs. If you equate the royalties of what is happening in the Gulf Coast to South Carolina, it could be $250 million per year that we could use, at a minimum I believe, as we see fit.