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SC Senate Moves to Block Funds for Drilling

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Senate passed a budget proviso Wednesday to prohibit the use of any state funds by a state agency or local government to facilitate onshore infrastructure for offshore oil.

The state Senate voted 40-4 to approve the proviso. If the state House of Representatives also approves the proviso, it becomes law effective July 1.

South Carolina Sen. Chip Campsen speaks Wednesday during a press conference with, from left, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, Gov. Henry McMaster, Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, Sen. Gerald Malloy (hidden) and Sen. Sandy Senn. Photo: Jennifer Smith/South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce

Republican Sen. Chip Campsen, an executive in the maritime industry elected in 2004, announced the proviso earlier Wednesday during a press conference with Gov. Henry McMaster, Attorney General Alan Wilson and other Senate leaders.

Campsen said he had spent time in the Gulf of Mexico and seen firsthand how offshore drilling requires massive industrialization of the coastline. He said nowhere along the South Carolina coast is appropriate for building the onshore infrastructure needed to support offshore drilling.

“South Carolina is blessed with the most beautiful and historic coast in North America. Why would we subject our $23 billion tourism industry, lucrative coastal real estate markets, invaluable historic sites, world-class resorts, abundant fisheries, and extensive protected ecosystems to the industrialization and inevitable oil spills associated with offshore drilling? It makes no sense,” Campsen said.

The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which represents only small business interests and has been outspoken in its opposition to offshore drilling and its inevitable oil spills as a threat to the state’s tourism-based economy, hailed the announcement in a press release.

“The bi-partisan South Carolina voice of opposition to exploring and drilling for oil off our coast is now a scream,” said S.C. Chamber President and CEO Frank Knapp Jr. “Our deeply red state is turning purple, not in partisan terms, but in our anger at the Trump Administration trying to force destruction to our beautiful ocean, marine life and local economies from seismic blasting our ocean and turning our pristine beaches into sludge from the inevitable oil leaks and spills from drilling.”

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.