SC Business Reasons for Opposing Offshore Oil Drilling/Seismic Testing
When you drill, you spill. The federal government admits that oil spills are inevitable predicting one spill a year for every 1,000 barrels of oil produced. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reports 2,440 oil spills in the Gulf between 1964-2015 and 497 oil “accidents” in 2016. Federal records show that 20% of all oil spills are due to human error. One Gulf oil rig has leaked over 232,850 gallons of oil since 2004 and the owner, Taylor Energy, says that the leak cannot be stopped.
Spills hurt tourism. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 Louisiana’s leisure visitor spending dropped by $247 million that year. Six weeks after the spill Gulf Coast hotel cancellation rates rose to 60% and 84% of the hotels reported difficulty booking future events.
Spills and leaks harm the beach experience. Hotels on the Gulf and Pacific Coasts provide wipes to those walking on the beach to remove oil and tar balls off their feet. NASSA satellite analysis has found no natural oil seepage in the Atlantic Ocean. The only incidents of tar balls on the Atlantic Coast beaches have come from oil tanker spills that impacted New Jersey. When the spills were stopped, the tar balls stopped.
Spill threaten local economies. The South Carolina coastal tourism economy accounts for 600,000 jobs and $20 billion annually. The American Petroleum Institute’s best projected oil revenue for the state is $3 billion from now until 2035. But to get this the state would have to give up on much of the tourism revenue due to spills and oil infrastructure that pushes away local tourism. High-paying offshore jobs require extensive training and experience with most oil workers rotating to rigs from long distances. Local jobs would be low paying and consist of water transportation of personnel and supplies to rigs.
Seismic testing hurts commercial fishing and local economies. Seismic testing is an old destructive oil exploration technology that the federal government admits will kill or harm 138,000 marine mammals like whales and dolphins. Plus, the firing of arrays of air cannons every 12 seconds toward the ocean floor 24-7 for months results in harm, behavioral changes and even death to commercial and recreational fish, invertebrates (like shrimp, oysters and scallops) and plankton. Commercial fishermen have reported reductions of fish catch of up to 80% due to seismic testing. Less fresh catch would reverberate throughout seafood market businesses including increasing the cost of seafood to local restaurants and their customers.
There is no federal revenue sharing. Congress has never passed legislation to allow for oil lease royalties to be shared with Atlantic Coast states. In fact, the Trump Administration has proposed stopping such revenue sharing with Gulf Coast states. The Department of Interior has publicly stated that it needs to generate more revenue from offshore drilling leases to pay for repairs and maintenance at national parks. To date Gulf Coast states have still not received any of the promised oil lease revenue.
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and 16 SC Coastal Cities have filed a federal lawsuit to stop offshore oil exploration. These parties also oppose offshore drilling.
Coastal businesses oppose drilling and testing. Over 540 coastal small businesses have signed petitions opposing offshore drilling and testing.
SC Hotels and restaurants oppose drilling and testing. The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association with its 1400 members statewide opposes offshore drilling and seismic testing in the Atlantic.
Coastal local governments oppose drilling and testing. Every South Carolina coastal municipality has passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing.
Governor McMaster opposes drilling and testing. On January 16, 2018, Gov. McMaster sent a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Interior: “Our seaside communities like Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head and Beaufort depend on a pristine coastline that brings visitors here from all over the globe. Such reliance means that we cannot afford to accept the risk of adverse environmental impacts attendant to offshore drilling.”
SC Attorney General opposes offshore testing for oil in the Atlantic. AG Alan Wilson has joined the Small Business Chamber and cities in their federal lawsuit to stop exploration for oil in the Atlantic.
Six SC Congressmen oppose drilling and testing. South Carolina Congressmen representing the coast—Tom Rice, James Clyburn, Joe Wilson and Joe Cunningham—oppose offshore drilling and testing for oil. Senator Lindsey Graham has said that states must have the right to opt out of any offshore drilling plan and that he is following Governor McMaster’s lead on the issue. Senator Tim Scott say that he stands with his coastal constituents who oppose offshore testing and drilling for oil.
SC Legislators oppose drilling. Republican and Democratic SC Senators and Representatives, including Senators Chip Campsen, Tom Davis and Luke Rankin have written to the U.S. Dept. of Interior opposing drilling for oil. On January 19, 2018, Senator Davis traveled to Washington to testify against offshore drilling and seismic testing at a Congressional committee hearing.
All Atlantic Coast governors oppose drilling and testing. Every Governor along the Atlantic Coast opposes offshore drilling and testing for oil in federal waters off their coast. The U.S. Department of Interior recently removed Florida from consideration for offshore drilling citing the state’s tourism economy as too important to risk.
Over 42,000 businesses oppose offshore drilling and testing. The Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast represents over 42,000 businesses from Maine to Florida including hotel/restaurant associations and chambers of commerce in opposition to offshore testing and drilling for oil.
We don’t need the little bit of oil in the Atlantic. Thanks to onshore oil production, the U.S. Energy Information Association projects that the U.S. will be a net exporter of energy by 2022. Some weeks even now the U.S. exports about one million gallons of oil per day. The oil the nation does import comes mostly from Canada and Mexico.