South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Charleston might join lawsuit if federal government issues drilling permits off S.C. coast
January 9th, 2018

By Abigail Darlington, Post & Courier

Charleston and other coastal communities in South Carolina might sue the federal government if any permits are issued for oil and gas exploration off South Carolina's coast.

Charleston City Council on Tuesday will consider a resolution pledging to join a lawsuit the S.C. Environmental Law Project plans to file in response to any authorization of seismic testing or offshore drilling.

Amy Armstrong, executive director of the organization, said she expects cities of Beaufort and North Myrtle Beach to consider similar resolutions in the next week or two.

The move comes a few days after the Trump administration announced plans to vastly expand offshore exploration and drilling to virtually all waters, from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans.

"This is in anticipation that there are going to be decisions that will be coming down relatively quickly," Armstrong said. "We are going to be prepared to challenge them if and when they're issued."

The resolution City Council is considering states that the effort would be led entirely by SCELP. Charleston would not commit any funding or other resources.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and other coastal mayors have opposed President Donald Trump's plan, citing environmental concerns that could disrupt the state's lucrative tourism industry.

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