Update: Offshore Exploration and Drilling for Oil

August 27, 2018

The good news is that there is no news on the federal government’s plans to explore and drill for oil in the Atlantic. As we get closer to the midterm elections, it becomes harder to image that any federal agency will take any actions before November.

However, there is news about South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott.  In his most definite and public statement on the issue of offshore drilling, the once very pro-drilling Senator stated this month that “as long as the coast of South Carolina is universally solidified in opposition … I will stand with them.” Unfortunately, there appears to be some wiggle room in the Senator’s position.

Another SC Republican, Katie Arrington, also states that her position on offshore drilling has changed. The GOP candidate for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, that runs from Charleston to Hilton Head, said at a campaign event in July, “Let me be clear, I do not support drilling for oil off of South Carolina’s coast.”

This doesn’t sound like a full flip-flop from Ms. Arrington’s previous full-throated endorsement of President Trump’s Atlantic Coast pro-drilling agenda. But at least she doesn’t want oil washing up on SC beaches.  Ms. Arrington has not said how she wants to stop any oil spills from waters north of the Palmetto State from drifting south.

Ms. Arrington has to worry less about oil spills from the south. As you know, Florida has been promised an offshore drilling-pass by the Administration because it is “unique”.  And regardless of who wins the Georgia gubernatorial election, drilling off that state’s shores appears to be a non-starter.  Here is Republican candidate Brian Kemp’s position that he told WSAV in July: “I support offshore drilling.  I just don’t want it to be off the coast of Savannah.”

Clearly coastal GOP candidates have heard their constituents loud and clear. What we have to worry about is their conviction and if they will still be listening after the November elections.

Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO

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