January 10, 2019
By Caitlyn Penter
BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTGS FOX 28) — On Monday, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he would be adding his name to a federal lawsuit against seismic testing off the South Carolina coast.
The lawsuit now includes 16 S.C. cities, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and the State of South Carolina.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling is one of the original voices of the movement.
“It’s hard to believe four years ago we started this. Started right here in this room,” said Keyserling.
He said he heard Wilson had been tossing the idea around for the last couple of weeks.
“It surprised me a little bit but when I heard he was talking about it, it made perfect sense because the tide is turning,” said Keyserling.
He said support from the upstate has taken some time. However, a lot of people have come to realize the statewide impact.
“I think it took a little while for those inland to realize that $20 billion at risk from tourism and state budget,” said Keyserling.
He said over the past several years, opposition to seismic testing and offshore drilling has crossed party lines.
“The attorney general to consult with the governor who has from time to time been more or less aggressive with the issue because of his relationship with the president,” said Keyserling.
Government leaders are uniting to preserve the coastline and so are some of the people who live along it.
“Oh, the view is beyond unbelievable. That’s one of the reasons why my parents and I moved down here. My parents especially. They fell in love with the ocean, the wildlife and everything about it,” said Jaydon Yerington.
Yerington and his friend McKenzie Emerson are students at the Technical College of Lowcountry. They said their coastal town is too beautiful to risk.
“Honestly, just thinking about it is heartbreaking. You know, I’ve lived here my whole life. I want my kids to see this when I’m older. I want to bring everyone back here. I love it here,” said Emerson.
To read S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s full statement on the lawsuit, click here.