South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

SCELP in the Press

No oil drilling, no testing offshore S.C.
April 3rd, 2016

Post & Courier Editorial

More than 20 communities up and down the South Carolina coast have said they don’t want offshore drilling and the harm it could bring to the billion-dollar tourism industry. Conservationists, recognizing the tremendous cost an oil spill could have on marine life, are opposed to offshore drilling. And even the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has said no to drilling off South Carolina’s coast.

But none of that matters to three oil-related businesses, which earlier received DHEC approval to do seismic testing offshore for oil and natural gas. They are moving ahead with their testing plans despite what the feds have said about drilling.

Or at least the companies are trying to. The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is challenging the testing permits issued by DHEC in the state’s Administrative Law Court.

And opponents continue to try to dissuade state leaders, including Gov. Nikki Haley, to change their “drill, baby, drill” stance in favor of protecting the coast and listening to the residents who would be impacted.

Clearly, the offshore testing companies are banking on BOEM to change its mind. But if offshore drilling is a mistake now, it will be a mistake next year and the next.

BOEM has even concluded that the work “may result in low immediate economic benefits for nearby communities.”

Still, politicians in the Upstate and in the Midlands maintain that oil dollars and jobs would flood in to a state that needs more money. And they buy Big Oil’s promises that drilling is now just about foolproof, where devastating blowouts and leaks are concerned.

Even if that were true — and it’s not — apologists do not talk about the other problems for ocean communities that the industry creates, from the inevitable tar balls on the beach to the imposing, ugly infrastructure on land.

It is telling when a federal agency is more responsive to the people of South Carolina than the state’s governor and many of its elected officials.

If the General Assembly were to tell BOEM that neither offshore drilling nor offshore testing is welcome near South Carolina, the message might make a big difference in D.C. Certainly that was the message that coastal communities sent to state and federal leaders. They opposed both exploration and drilling, citing the former’s hazard to marine life.

Seismic testing involves high-decibel blasts from air guns underwater that sound roughly every 16 seconds. It has been found to disrupt the feeding and mating of mammals and fish.

Testing could also require drilling test wells, and that means risks of spills and leaks.

Why risk a spill in order to get data that can’t be used?

South Carolina officials should reject plans for offshore seismic testing, which would only be meaningful had oil companies been given the go-ahead for offshore drilling.

Fortunately, conservation groups, including the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Oceana and the Coastal Conservation League, continue to work on behalf of the coast and marine life.

And no coastal communities have withdrawn their objection to offshore testing and drilling.

South Carolina’s leadership should reverse its support for offshore drilling.

As Sierra Weaver, senior attorney for the Environmental Law Center, said, “It doesn’t matter how much oil is out there. The beaches are worth so much more.”

Source (external link)

Archives

2016
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Posted: Mar 29, 2016
Capt. Sam’s Spit road gets court go-ahead; conservation groups plan to appeal
Posted: Mar 23, 2016
International Drive hearings conclude, but final outcome won’t come quickly
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Posted: Feb 18, 2016
Coastal Bear Dispute Reaches Columbia Courtroom
Posted: Feb 16, 2016
Millions more recommended to protect Lake Marion from toxic waste dump
Posted: Jan 11, 2016
2015
Court ruling uncertain on Capt. Sam’s Spit wall
Posted: Dec 5, 2015
Opinion: Don’t sacrifice coast for developers
Posted: Dec 3, 2015
Lawmakers OK change to help development on Kiawah Island
Posted: Dec 2, 2015
Kiawah Island project wins support from lawmakers
Posted: Dec 1, 2015
Battle over Captain Sam’s Spit grows as coastline shrinks
Posted: Nov 19, 2015
Capt. Sam’s Spit wall given go ahead
Posted: Nov 9, 2015
South Carolina Flooding: Real Estate Boom At Risk As Threats From Climate Change Intensify
Posted: Oct 6, 2015
Court blasts DHEC for failures at nuclear waste dump
Posted: Aug 19, 2015
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Posted: Aug 1, 2015
Hotly contested seawall in upscale community sails toward reality near Myrtle Beach
Posted: Jul 27, 2015
Opinion: International Drive in Carolina Forest held up when Horry County reneged on its promise
Posted: Jul 22, 2015
Opinion: Tom Rice ill-informed about International Drive in Carolina Forest
Posted: Jul 20, 2015
Conservation, wildlife request on International Drive could delay Horry County road project even longer
Posted: Jul 13, 2015
Beaufort continues battle against offshore seismic testing for oil
Posted: Jul 8, 2015
Opinion: Lack of enforcement puts SC's valuable natural resources at risk
Posted: Jul 7, 2015
DHEC board lets seismic testing for oil stand
Posted: Jun 11, 2015
Kiawah developers win new permit for Captain Sam’s Spit
Posted: May 26, 2015
Marine life threatened by search for oil and gas, legal appeal says
Posted: May 18, 2015
Landfill lawsuit pits waste against wetlands
Posted: Apr 20, 2015
Expansion of towering mega dump near acclaimed nature preserve sparks dispute
Posted: Apr 17, 2015
USC School of Law announces 2015 Compleat Lawyer Award recipients
Posted: Apr 4, 2015
The new battle for Capt. Sam’s Spit; beach setback rule contested
Posted: Mar 25, 2015
S.C. lawmakers struggle to stop seaward push
Posted: Mar 19, 2015
Opinion: Don’t limit a citizen’s ability to challenge government
Posted: Mar 17, 2015
Environment: Judge rules for church in wetlands permit appeal
Posted: Feb 27, 2015
Kiawah developers seek help from Legislature to build on barrier island
Posted: Jan 29, 2015
Judge denies landowners’ motion to stop withdrawals in Edisto River ‘water war’
Posted: Jan 15, 2015
Charleston Court will hear case on S.C. water laws, draws interest of Wagener residents
Posted: Jan 14, 2015
2014
Court rules against disputed Kiawah beach project
Posted: Dec 11, 2014
Kiawah developer denied permits for Capt. Sams Spit sea walls
Posted: Dec 10, 2014
SC attorney general fights federal environmental rules
Posted: Oct 16, 2014
Formal appeal is filed in Charleston cruise ship terminal dispute
Posted: Oct 15, 2014
Lab Test Indicates Jellyfish Plant Discharge is Harmful, Company Disagrees
Posted: Sep 7, 2014
South Carolina Ports again seek cruise terminal permit
Posted: Aug 16, 2014
Court rules against Barnwell nuclear waste dump
Posted: Jul 31, 2014
SC Senate tacks on seawall exemption to resolution
Posted: May 20, 2014
SCELP Board Member John Mark Dean's Letter to the Editor: Seawalls steal from the many to protect the few
Posted: May 14, 2014
SC beach dispute heats up
Posted: May 13, 2014
Debordieu scores win
Posted: May 8, 2014
SC seawall ban crumbling as landowners seek help
Posted: May 8, 2014
SC seawalls, beach projects score victory
Posted: May 8, 2014
SC Supreme Court hears arguments in York County landfill suit
Posted: May 6, 2014
Senators side with gated Debordieu community in debate over public beach
Posted: Apr 29, 2014
SC has not yet reapplied for federal cruise permit
Posted: Apr 28, 2014
Group appeals judge's ruling over Charleston cruise terminal
Posted: Apr 22, 2014
DHEC holds community meeting to discuss jellyballs
Posted: Apr 22, 2014
Proposed industrial park in Bucksport pits environmentalists against developers, neighbor against neighbor
Posted: Apr 14, 2014
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Posted: Mar 28, 2014
Waccamaw River: Industrial park raises debate over jobs and environment By Jason Lesley
Posted: Mar 13, 2014
SCELP won a critical VICTORY in the SC Supreme Court
Posted: Mar 12, 2014
Business leaders, environmentalists and residents debate marine industrial park at hearing
Posted: Mar 11, 2014
Environmentalists want Bucksport industrial park put on hold, proponents say it’s not necessary
Posted: Mar 10, 2014
Environmentalists raise concerns, proponents tout benefits of Bucksport Marina Industrial Park
Posted: Feb 18, 2014
Saving the Angel Oak
Posted: Feb 17, 2014
Tom Rice legislation could give gated Inlet Harbour community access to federal funds
Posted: Feb 17, 2014
Barnwell nuclear waste dump: Are open pits a threat?
Posted: Feb 6, 2014
SCELP argues before Court of Appeals for more containment at Barnwell nuclear site
Posted: Feb 5, 2014
Leaks at Barnwell Nuclear Dump Focus of Court Hearing
Posted: Feb 3, 2014
Court to hear Barnwell waste disposal appeal
Posted: Jan 23, 2014
Pawleys Island: State tries to avoid county default on groin permit
Posted: Jan 13, 2014
Funds drying up to check for toxic leaks near Lake Marion
Posted: Jan 8, 2014
4 years on, Charleston cruise debate lingers
Posted: Jan 6, 2014
2013
DHEC Holds Public Hearing
Posted: Nov 19, 2013
COMPANY TO YOUR STATE
Posted: Nov 19, 2013
Pawleys Island: County conspicuous in absence from court in groin appeal
Posted: Nov 15, 2013
Cruise terminal opponents want SC permit tossed
Posted: Nov 14, 2013
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Posted: Oct 7, 2013
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Posted: Oct 4, 2013
WMBF News Interviews Amy Armstrong
Posted: Sep 24, 2013
Pawleys Island: Town takes over county effort to get groin permit
Posted: Jun 4, 2013
S.C. Supreme Court to rehear Capt. Sam’s Spit case
Posted: May 3, 2013
Developers say Capt. Sam’s Spit homes won’t disrupt park or habitat; others disagree
Posted: Apr 28, 2013
Public calls for coal ash to be hauled away from Conway's Grainger plant
Posted: Apr 23, 2013
Pawleys Island: Town may defend county’s permit for south end groin
Posted: Apr 4, 2013
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Posted: Mar 19, 2013
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Posted: Mar 5, 2013
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Posted: Feb 4, 2013
Council approves plans for Pawley's Island shopping center
Posted: Jan 9, 2013
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Posted: Jan 4, 2013
2012
Pawleys Plaza: Planners expect new proposal without big-box store
Posted: Dec 14, 2012
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Posted: Nov 26, 2012
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County Planning staff recommends rezoning for Pawleys Plaza
Posted: Sep 21, 2012
Supreme Court Wetlands Ruling
Posted: Jun 1, 2012
Marlboro in Fierce Fight Against Landfill
Posted: Apr 1, 2012
2011
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Posted: Dec 2, 2011
Developer in Battle to Build Near Angel Oak
Posted: Nov 23, 2011
High Court Rules on Pawleys Island Land Fight
Posted: Jul 14, 2011
2010
Fight on to Save Lily Pond Arcadia Lakes; residents oppose dredging
Posted: Mar 29, 2010
Conservationists applaud long-awaited decision
Posted: Feb 2, 2010
2009
Developer's Claim Gets Hard Look
Posted: Dec 8, 2009
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Posted: Dec 8, 2009
Judge Denies Landfill Permit
Posted: Nov 24, 2009
Critics Urge Changes in U.S. 601 Plan through Congaree National Park
Posted: Sep 9, 2009
2008
Bill Marscher Tribute
Posted: Jan 31, 2008
2007
Barnwell leaks worse than feared
Posted: Aug 19, 2007
Underdog lawyer puts up good fight
Posted: Jul 29, 2007
Sand battle won't blow over
Posted: Jul 13, 2007
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Posted: Mar 9, 2007
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Posted: Mar 6, 2007
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Posted: Mar 5, 2007
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Posted: Mar 4, 2007
NMB Opens Nature Park on Marsh
Posted: Jan 25, 2007
2006
Congaree bridge permits delayed
Posted: Aug 11, 2006
Land-use plan update critical, say residents
Posted: Jul 24, 2006
Wetlands bill represents compromise
Posted: Mar 7, 2006
2005
A chance to take part
Posted: May 24, 2005
With Lowe’s gone for the time being, what have we really accomplished?
Posted: May 22, 2005
2004
Neighbors claim abuse of power
Posted: Oct 1, 2004
Judge fines bulkhead owner
Posted: Aug 28, 2004
Seminar discusses erosion
Posted: Apr 8, 2004
Sea wall can stay for now
Posted: Mar 10, 2004
Court urged to jettison sea-wall ban
Posted: Mar 7, 2004
State takes public remarks on DeBordieu sand solution
Posted: Jan 1, 2004
2003
No Public Sand For DeBordieu
Posted: Nov 16, 2003
2002
A Public Forum on Growth
Posted: Oct 1, 2002
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Posted: Aug 1, 2002
Students mark law's anniversary
Posted: Aug 1, 2002
2001
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Posted: Jun 18, 2001
2000
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Posted: Dec 1, 2000
Waste dump closed
Posted: Sep 23, 2000