I was not surprised with the pro-offshore oil and gas extraction (drilling, fracking, etc.) advocated by the S.C. Petroleum Institute’s Mark Harmon; that’s what he’s paid to do.
I object, however, to Mr. Harmon’s misrepresentation of the process laid out by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management when it visited Columbia Feb. 13. There will be NO opportunity to “explore the possibilities” via seismic surveys before granting permission to extract. The leases, as proposed by bureau, would be sold to energy companies to extract whatever resources they find. The companies will use seismic airguns (proven harmful to marine life) and other methods to survey the leased area, and the results are proprietary, not to be shared with the public. There is no opportunity for the public to “see what’s out there” and then decide.
Mr. Harmon cited a three-year old 2015 poll indicating South Carolinians supported offshore drilling. It is worth noting that the recent Winthrop University found a complete reversal: 51 percent now realize the potential harm to tourism, fishing and our fragile and pristine coast far outweigh any short-term benefits of an oil/gas extraction economy.
Those wishing to have their views considered by bureau have until March 9 to submit comments at boem.gov/National-Program-Comment.
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