Action Alert!! Tell state agency not to approve seismic permit

June 8, 2019

A seismic testing company has submitted a late request to be found compliant with South Carolina’s Coastal Management Program.  Why this request is only coming in now given that all the other seismic companies did so years ago is not known.

What is known is that the seismic company WesternGeco is asking the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for a finding that the seismic airgun blasting it wants to do for exploring for oil and gas off the SC coast is consistent with our SC Coastal Management Program.

Take the time to tell our state agency that you don’t approve of blasting our ocean and harming our commercial fishing and recreational economies by killing, maiming and disturbing our marine life.

Here is a link to the online form to use to comment:

You can read the comments already submitted by the South Carolina Small Business Chamber by clicking here.

Please get your comments in by July 1st.

Below is a message from the SC Coastal Conservation League with more talking points.


Last week, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control opened the public comment period for a seismic testing permit. We have reviewed the application, and it doesn’t look good. The comment period runs through July 1.

South Carolinians like you who care about our coast need to tell DHEC that this proposed seismic permit is inconsistent with our state’s coastal laws and policies.

The company that wants to conduct seismic testing off South Carolina’s coast is WesternGeco, a subsidiary of Schlumberger, a Curaçao-based company with offices in Houston. They use loud, underwater airguns to search for oil and gas and then sell the resulting data to offshore drilling companies.

WesternGeco has applied for a “certification of consistency” with South Carolina’s Coastal Zone Management Program. DHEC should find the company’s plan inconsistent with our coastal protection program for three reasons:

  1. Seismic testing hurts marine species like North Atlantic right whales, loggerhead turtles and species that support commercial fishing in South Carolina.
  2. The impact on jobs and our coastal communities would be immense. Tourism is a $23 billion industry in South Carolina and seismic testing puts it at risk.
  3. South Carolinians overwhelmingly oppose seismic testing and offshore drilling. This year, the General Assembly banned funding for permitting onshore infrastructure for offshore oil and gas. Governor Henry McMaster said in his State of the State speech: “[W]e must stand firmly against all efforts to endanger the future of our pristine coastline, our beaches, our Sea Islands, our marshes, and our watersheds. Ladies and gentlemen, that means we will not have offshore testing or drilling off the coast of South Carolina.”

Feel free to use these points when you craft your comments. Let DHEC know that you are part of the majority. Comment by July 1.

Seismic testing is inconsistent with South Carolina’s coastal protection laws and policies, and DHEC should not approve a permit for WesternGeco. It’s just not the right call, and South Carolinians don’t support it. A recent Winthrop poll found that 61% of South Carolinians oppose seismic testing.

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