An Upstate congressman says it's part of God's "intelligent design" that the Palmetto State can tap offshore oil reserves.
"I’m a Christian, I believe in intelligent design, and I also understand that when we’re talking about oil or fossil fuels, in general, God gave us the ability to discover there are resources known as fossil fuels inside the Earth that we can extract," U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, told a Lander University audience Wednesday, according to the Greenwood Index-Journal.
Duncan told the Greenwood crowd that expanding oil drilling is the key to ensuring U.S. energy independence in the future, adding boosting fossil fuels will benefit South Carolina, in particular.
Because the planned V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project, which would have produced energy for South Carolinians, was abandoned last summer, Duncan expects to see that anticipated energy replaced with natural gas.
“As South Carolinians, we were planning to meet our future electrical needs to run the engines of our economy based on nuclear power generation," Duncan said. "That’s no longer in the mix so going forward ... We’re going to have to replace that with something, and I believe what the state will do is look to natural gas-fired generators.”
Plans by President Donald Trump to open the Atlantic coast to oil drilling have drawn opposition from S.C. politicians from statewide-elected officials — Trump ally and S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster — to coastal Republicans — U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford.
But Duncan said South Carolina can learn from the example of Western states with strong oil and natural gas industries.
“They weathered it (the Great Recession) because they were producing energy during that time and continued to export the energy," Duncan said.
Duncan also denied being a “climate denier,” saying he believes global temperatures have changed over time, but that human beings are not directly responsible for the changes.