S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster is trying, again, to protect South Carolina from falling into the offshore drilling cross hairs of his “good friend” and political ally, President Donald Trump.
Citing the risk to the “unspoiled beauty” of the state’s beaches, sea islands and marshes, McMaster asked again Tuesday for an exemption from the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
“Every city and town council along the South Carolina coastline has voted to oppose seismic testing and drilling, and I agree with them,” McMaster wrote in the letter to U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The letter was a follow-up to a conversation that McMaster and Zinke had last week in response to Trump’s recent proposal to expand offshore drilling. McMaster, who was the first statewide elected official in the nation to endorse Trump before South Carolina’s pivotal GOP presidential primary in 2016, has been seeking an exemption for South Carolina similar to one granted to Florida.
McMaster asked Zinke and Trump to consider South Carolina’s positioning in the pathway of hurricanes, tropical storms “and other severe aquatic weather events” and noted how hurricanes in the Gulf Of Mexico destroyed or damaged dozens of oil platforms.
“As a state which regularly faces such threats, we cannot countenance the addition of even more risk by placing offshore drilling platforms in the path of these storms,” McMaster wrote to Zinke. “I ask that you – along with my good friend President Donald J. Trump – take these considerations into account as you implement future offshore drilling plans.”