February 10, 2015
By WTOC Staff
BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) – The City of Beaufort unanimously passed a resolution opposing offshore drilling and the use of seismic airguns to search for oil and gas deposits of its coast on Tuesday night.
Beaufort is now the first community in South Carolina to formally pass a resolution opposing offshore drilling, and the 33rd coastal community to publically oppose or voice concern with seismic airgun use, which local communities say would threaten local fisheries, economies and marine animals.
“Oceana applauds Mayor Billy Keyserling and the city council for standing up for the residents of Beaufort and saying no to offshore drilling and seismic blasting,” said Samantha Siegel in a statement, campaign organizer at Oceana. “It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is a dirty and dangerous business, and seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean. Offshore drilling and seismic exploration would be disastrous for Beaufort, the state of South Carolina, and the entire East Coast.”
“Simply put—our state and local governments spend millions of dollars to bring people here to enjoy our natural environment. Why in the world would we put that at risk?” said Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling in a statement. “We’ve become almost energy independent, and we have yet to harness the opportunity of generating alternative sources of energy. This is a no-brainer.”
Local activist and small business owner, Megan Feight said in a statement, “tonight we celebrate a victory within the fight on offshore drilling as Beaufort City Council passes this resolution–our future is going to be a better place. Thank you to everyone who took the time to sign my petition against drilling and seismic blasting.”
Additionally, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce has opposed offshore drilling and seismic blasting. 60+ members of Congress, well over 200 local elected officials, more than 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations, as well as the Billfish Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, the Southeastern Fishery Association, and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, have also opposed the use of seismic airguns. Oceana has delivered more than 100,000 petitions opposing their use to the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.