News | August 7, 2019

Drilling opposition is truly bi-partisan, S.C. leaders say

Local, state and federal leaders gathered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday to say that, despite political disagreements on a number of issues, opposition to offshore drilling and seismic blasting has united many representatives from both parties.

At a town hall meeting at Patriots Point on the shore of the Cooper River, Congressman Joe Cunningham addressed a boisterous crowd gathered to send a message to White House that coastal communities don’t want oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We ran a campaign about not just saying ‘no’ to offshore drilling, but saying ‘hell no,’ ” Cunningham said to raucous applause. “We know if the past can teach us anything, when you drill, you spill. And we don’t want to expose our shoreline to that.”

Cunningham was joined by state representatives and local mayors, including Awendaw Mayor Mariam C. Green, the first African American woman elected to that position.

So I tell people who are doing all the drilling, and all the testing to, damn it, stop. Stop right now, because I have had enough.

Mariam C. Green, Mayor of Awendaw, S.C.

“God don’t want drilling nowhere,” Green told the crowd. “Because it destroys our ocean, our beaches, and not only that, it destroys the welfare of our communities because people live to fish, shrimp, clam, and (harvest) oysters.”

“So I tell people who are doing all the drilling, and all the testing to, damn it, stop,” she said. “Stop right now, because I have had enough.”

More than 260 towns like Awendaw in East Coast states have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling and seismic blasting.

Cunningham also noted that all 14 East Coast governors from both parties oppose offshore drilling.

“In an age where Democrats and Republicans are having trouble finding anything to agree on, this is one of those things we can all agree on,” he said. You’ve seen our Republican governor Henry McMaster state his opposition to offshore drilling.  Our Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson was the first Republican to sign on to litigation against seismic testing and offshore drilling. This is rapidly becoming a non partisan issue.”

Even so, President Trump has moved forward with plans to expand drilling and authorize harmful seismic blasting. At the same time, his administration has rolled back key safety regulations.

A new 5-year leasing plan that was expected earlier this year has been indefinitely delayed, but drilling opponents suspect the Trump administration will again push ahead after the 2020 elections.