More than two decades ago, seven exploratory wells were drilled in the South Atlantic, but there were no discoveries of commercial quantities of oil.
A study this year by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management found that the mid-Atlantic, south Atlantic and Florida ranked among the highest relative environmental sensitivity scores in the country; the Southeast had the highest species scores for marine mammals and sea turtles and above-average scores for fish species.
It took 87 days to cap the well after the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. During that time, approximately 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil gushed from the ruptured well at the seafloor. Although the rig was 50 miles offshore, about 220 miles of shoreline were heavily oiled, 140 miles were moderately oiled and the remaining miles of shoreline received light oiling and/or tar balls. After the blowout, 88,500 square miles of federal waters were temporarily closed to commercial and recreational fishing.
Simply put, drilling for oil off the South Carolina coast is not worth the risk.