Gov. McMaster Signs State Budget Extending Offshore Drilling Infrastructure Ban
Press Release Date: July 1, 2021
Location: COLUMBIA, S.C.
This week, Gov. Henry McMaster signed the state’s annual budget into law, which is effective as of July 1, 2021. The final budget continues the state’s ban on any infrastructure to support offshore oil and gas drilling off South Carolina’s coast through a budget-related measure called a proviso. The historic proviso passed in 2019 with bipartisan support prohibiting any South Carolina state or local government funds from being used to plan, permit, or license any offshore oil- and gas-related activities for that fiscal year. This will remain in effect until June 30, 2022.
In 2020, President Trump issued a 10-year ban on oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The state ban reflects the sentiments of South Carolinians, where 28 municipalities — including every coastal community in the state — have already adopted local resolutions opposing offshore drilling and protecting state waters.
“South Carolina continues to make it clear that we are not willing to risk an oil spill ruining our idyllic beaches and productive fisheries,” said Samantha Siegel, Oceana’s senior field representative for South Carolina. “Oceana continues to fight for South Carolina and is calling on President Biden to permanently protect the Atlantic Ocean from dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling.”
Earlier this year, Oceana released an analysis finding that permanent offshore drilling protections for unleased federal waters could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment. Oceana is calling on President Biden to permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling to ensure the future of our coastal economy, which depends on a healthy ocean and helps address the growing climate crisis. “By permanently protecting our coast from dirty offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources like offshore wind, we can simultaneously safeguard our clean coast economy and help combat climate change,” said Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins.
Oceana applauds Gov. Henry McMaster, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Sen. Chip Campsen, and their colleagues in the General Assembly for their efforts to protect our coast. This continuation of the proviso honors the strong opposition to offshore drilling in South Carolina.
Along with Gov. McMaster, every other East and West Coast governor has voiced opposition to drilling off their coast. California, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon have already enacted various laws to block new offshore drilling.
As of today, opposition and concern over efforts to radically expand offshore drilling activities in U.S. waters includes:
- Every East and West Coast governor, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Oregon, and Washington
- More than 390 local municipalities
- Over 2,300 local, state, and federal bipartisan officials
- East and West Coast alliances representing over 55,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families
- Pacific, New England, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
- More than 120 scientists
- More than 80 former military leaders
- Commercial and recreational fishing interests, such as Southeastern Fisheries Association, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Fisheries Survival Fund, Billfish Foundation, and International Game Fish Association
- California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission, and California State Lands Commission
- U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force, and Florida Defense Support Task Force
A complete list opposition can be found here.