South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Isle of Palms, Seabrook, Sullivan's and Folly Beach unite in opposition to offshore oil exploration
January 25th, 2018

By Prentiss Findlay, Post & Courier

The possibility of offshore oil drilling is about as popular with local beach governments as the prospect of a hurricane.

Those feelings found expression this week when Isle of Palms, Seabrook Island and Folly Beach councils united with Sullivan's Island in opposition to a federal proposal that could allow oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

The island governments agreed to join in a potential S.C. Environmental Law Project suit to block the search for offshore oil. Preserving the state's pristine coast and protecting its value to the economy are concerns cited in their resolutions.

The resolutions echo opinions expressed in April when mayors from Charleston, Isle of Palms, Edisto Island and Sullivan’s Island held a press conference where they spoke in opposition to President Donald Trump's executive order aimed at opening vast areas off the East Coast to a search for oil and gas.

If SCELP files suit in federal court to block the oil exploration, it will represent the state's beach communities on the issue at no cost to them, the island resolutions state.

On Jan. 4, the federal government published a proposal to permit drilling in most U.S. continental shelf waters, including the Atlantic outer continental shelf, which would allow seismic air gun surveying over a huge area ranging from the Delaware Bay, south to Cape Canaveral in Florida. Ships would crisscross the ocean shooting loud bursts of sound underwater to map the geology, according to news reports.

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