The Trump administration’s proposal to expand offshore drilling wasn’t well received by many Thursday.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle voiced concern, or displeasure, with the plan to drill for oil and gas in all federal waters. That includes the Atlantic Coast and South Carolina region.
One politician who made no bones about his opposition to the proposal was U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.
“I have always staunchly opposed offshore drilling along South Carolina’s coast,” the Columbia Democrat wrote on Twitter.
The proposed plan from Donald Trump’s Administration is to allow 47 lease sales, including three in the South Atlantic region that includes South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head among other coastal cities and towns could all be impacted by drilling.
It’s not surprising that environmental groups oppose drilling off the S.C. coast. Several Palmetto State politicians have also voiced concern that a spill from the drilling could cripple the state’s tourism economy.
“Tourism is our state’s No. 1 industry, and we cannot afford to risk destroying our beaches and coastal environments,” Clyburn tweeted. “If the President will not change course, Congress should act swiftly to block this dangerous expansion of offshore drilling.”
Some Republicans have publicly spoken against the proposal, including Mark Sanford. The U.S. Rep. and former S.C. Governor, said the Trump Administration plowed ahead with the proposal despite local opposition.
“Every single coastal municipality in South Carolina – and over 140 coastal municipalities on the East Coast – have formally opposed offshore drilling development. The Trump Administration's proposal completely ignores local opposition, Sanford wrote on Twitter.
This position, which was lauded by the Conservation League, isn’t new for Sanford. In the past, he and other prominent Palmetto State Republicans – such as Gov. Henry McMaster and Rep. Tom Rice – have opposed offshore drilling.
That isn’t the case for U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan. Clyburn and Sanford’s colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives was enthusiastic about the possible benefits that could come from drilling, not mentioning potential hazards.
“Saying that I’m excited about the Trump Administration’s new draft five-year plan for oil & gas leasing would be a major understatement. This is how you create jobs, achieve energy independence, and Make America Great Again!
There were no public comments Thursday on the proposal from Rice, as well as South Carolina’s other U.S. Representatives in Congress – Trey Gowdy, Ralph Norman and Joe Wilson, who has been supportive of the potential for offshore drilling in the past.
The U.S. Senators from S.C., Republicans Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, also didn’t comment publicly on the drilling proposal.
In the past, Graham and Scott have said offshore drilling should be carefully evaluated and ultimately left up to the people of South Carolina.