December 16, 2015
Statement of Frank Knapp Jr., President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-252-5733
In January of this year the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce was one of the first South Carolina organizations to come out in opposition to offshore seismic testing and drilling for oil along our coast. Since then the opposition has grown to a large chorus of residents and small businesses.
I want to make 4 points today.
- Coastal tourism in South Carolina is a small business industry. Offshore seismic testing and drilling is a threat to our thriving coastal tourism economy. That kind of industry is simply incompatible with what attracts our tourists–great beaches, natural wetlands, wildlife, sport fishing and unique and historic coastal cities and towns. In addition, our struggling fishing industry would not survive the inevitable oil spill.
- Anyone who has tried to get small business owners to publicly sign anything that is even a little controversial realizes how hard it is. However, in a very short period of time over 430 businesses across our state have signed onto a letter to Governor Haley asking her to oppose efforts to test and drill for oil off our coast. South Carolina small businesses don’t want an oil industry in our state. That is not who we are.
- The data is clear that there is far more oil that could be found off our nation’s West coast. Yet offshore drilling is prohibited there. If drilling off the coast of California isn’t allowed, then South Carolina’s coastal tourism economy deserves the same protection. If it’s the right thing to do for the West coast, it’s the right thing to do for the East coast.
- Thanks to the report released yesterday by the Center for a Blue Economy, we now know that the petroleum industry has been using a deceptive report that they produced a few years ago to promise us thousands of jobs and great revenue for our state government. The petroleum industry and the Gulf Coast businesses that our pushing this snake oil have duped our politicians. It is now time for all our elected leaders to say NO to this dirty industry that threatens our coastal small businesses and start opposing federal efforts that will allow for destructive offshore seismic testing and drilling.