SC Congressmen urged to vote yes on offshore oil amendments

SC Congressmen urged to vote yes on offshore oil amendments

PRESS RELEASE

Date:       July 16, 2018
From:     South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Subject:   SC Congressmen urged to vote yes on offshore oil amendments
Contact: Frank Knapp, President/CEO, 803-252-5733 (w), 803-600-6874 (c),
fknapp@scsbc.org 

Columbia, SC—The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC) today sent a strong message to four of the state’s U.S. House members—Representatives Gowdy, Wilson, Norman and Duncan. The SCSBCC urged these members to vote YES on amendments to stop any FY 2019 funding for offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Atlantic.

SC Congressmen Mark Sanford and Tom Rice are sponsors of these bipartisan amendments, which have the support of a third SC Congressman, James Clyburn.

“We urge you to respect the wishes of and stand with your fellow Congressmen—Sanford, Rice and Clyburn—who represent our state’s coastal communities and whose constituents have the most to lose if oil exploration and drilling are permitted,” wrote SCSBCC President and CEO Frank Knapp Jr.

The letter to the Congressmen stressed that oil industrialization of the state’s coast was incompatible with the vibrant local tourism, commercial fishing and recreation economies.

The letter also was dismissive of the argument that the U.S. needs more oil citing an effort by Republicans to have states pay a ransom to the federal treasury in exchange for not drilling off their coast. The prediction by experts that the U.S. would become the number one crude oil producer next year was also pointed out as confirming the lack of need for more oil.

The SCSBCC letter can be seen below.

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The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce is a statewide advocacy organization founded in 2000. With over 10,000 small business and entrepreneur supporters, it has successfully worked to make South Carolina more small business friendly in areas such as healthcare, taxation, regulation, worker training, energy/conservation, workers’ compensation and economic development.

 

July 16, 2018

Dear Congressman,

The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce asks you to vote YES on amendments to the Interior Department funding bill to stop offshore exploration and drilling for oil in the Atlantic. South Carolina Congressmen Mark Sanford and Tom Rice are sponsors of these amendments that could come up for a vote as early as this week.  Congressman James Clyburn supports these amendments.

South Carolina businesses and citizens, especially those along our coast, oppose exploration and drilling for oil off our shore. The threat of both activities to our coastal tourism, commercial fishing and recreation economies is immense.  Well over $14 billion is spent by tourists in Horry, Georgetown, Charleston and Beaufort Counties every year which provides over $1 billion in revenue to our state and local governments annually.  As for the contention that petroleum industrialization of our coast will help our economy, the reality is that such a dirty industry is incompatible with our flourishing and sustainable industries dependent on a healthy ocean.

The threat to our economies is real. When you drill, you spill. That is a fact regardless of any new regulations or new drilling procedures and is accentuated by another fact—according to federal records 20% of all offshore oil spills are due to human error.

In addition, even exploration using the old and destructive technology called seismic testing will cause commercial fish catches to be reduced by 40%-80%. This is due to the technology producing the loudest noise in the ocean that will kill, injure and harass all marine animals.

The latest revelation about seismic airgun blasting is the possibility of it disturbing the tens of thousands of deteriorating cannisters of conventional and chemical weapons as well as radioactive waste drums that the government dumped in the ocean off the South Carolina and most of the Atlantic Coast from the 1920s to 1970s. The release of these toxic materials into the ocean would end up in the marine food chain or possibly washing up on our shore.  There would be no containment of such a disaster.

Not only do our state’s coastal small businesses oppose these activities, over 42,000 businesses from Maine to Florida represented by the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast also stand in opposition to oil exploration and drilling.

The arguments for exploration and drilling are very weak. The United States simply does not need any oil that might be found off our coast.  This point was made very clearly by a recent proposal by Republican members of the House Committee on Natural Resources that would allow states to opt out of offshore drilling by paying “a lost production fee” to the federal government for depriving American taxpayers the revenue from oil drilling leases.

Clearly if states can pay a “ransom” to protect their coasts, the issue of offshore drilling is not about oil needs but really about money for the federal government. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has made it very clear that he wants to use new money from ocean drilling leases for infrastructure maintenance and repair at our national parks.

Add to this the fact that the United States is now the second leading world producer of oil and, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we will be the top producer of crude oil next year. We simply are awash in oil and often export about one million gallons of oil per day.

Not surprisingly, the only businesses interests supporting exploration and drilling are the petroleum and seismic industries that stand to make money and frankly don’t care what negative impact will befall our beautiful and vibrant coast.

Therefore, we ask that you vote YES on these amendments to prohibit federal funding in FY 2019 for offshore exploration and drilling for oil in the Atlantic.

We urge you to respect the wishes of and stand with your fellow Congressmen—Sanford, Rice and Clyburn—who represent our state’s coastal communities and whose constituents have the most to lose if oil exploration and drilling are permitted.

We urge you to support our state’s Governor, Henry McMaster, who carries the message of opposition to oil exploration and drilling off our coast to every part of our state.

On behalf of South Carolina small businesses, we urge you to vote YES on these amendments to protect our coast and coastal economies.

Sincerely,

Frank Knapp Jr.
President and CEO