COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today released the following statement applauding President Trump’s decision to halt the exploration of offshore drilling on the East coast:
“South Carolina is blessed with the most beautiful and pristine beaches, sea islands, and marshes in the nation. Seismic testing and offshore drilling threatens their health and jeopardizes the future of our state’s $24 billion tourism industry. Today’s announcement is good news, but we must remain vigilant in the conservation and preservation of our coastline.”
As early as January of 2018, Governor McMaster advocated against offshore drilling on behalf of the state in a letter and subsequent meeting with then U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. The governor requested the meeting to seek an exemption from offshore drilling, citing the fact that the massive refineries and gas storage needed to sustain the operation were not compatible with South Carolina’s coastline and protected sea land.
Later that year, Governor McMaster joined 9 other east coast governors in signing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary Zinke detailing their opposition to oil exploration off of the Atlantic Coast. The letter spelled out the governor’s concerns regarding the detrimental environmental and economic impacts drilling would have on the state.
In the 2019 state budget, the governor advocated for, and signed into law, a proviso prohibiting state or local government funds from being used to plan, permit, or license any offshore oil and gas related activities.