I suspect you already saw the news last Friday, but in case you didn’t, the The National Marine Fisheries Service authorized permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for five companies to begin seismic surveys in the Mid-Atlantic, from Delaware to central Florida.
This obviously includes the offshore waters of South Carolina.
I have made my stand here in opposition based on my belief in the importance of federalism. Ultimately, this was never a debate about whether one was pro or con on offshore drilling but rather a question of whether or not one believes all decisions should be made in Washington.
As I said repeatedly back in the primary, one is with only two choices when nearly every mayor and city council of the coastal towns that you represent in this 1st Congressional District come to you with formal proclamations stating their opposition to offshore drilling and exploration. You can either say, “you don’t know what you are talking about...” or “it is legitimate that you have a point of view in deciding the way that your communities grow and develop. This was always particularly the case, given that their opposition had little to do with the offshore issue and and everything to do with where the infrastructure was going to go to support offshore operations. For this, back in the primary, I was castigated for being against the president…my response many times over was that I wasn’t against the president but rather for the people that I represented along the coast of South Carolina.
So the bottom line is that I continue to disagree with the administration on this one; indeed, not all decisions should be made in Washington.
This is particularly the case, given the way in which we have opened up energy exports. There is something fundamentally lacking in the idea of putting federalism and local voice at bay, risking environmental and tourism assets…all for the chance to drill for energy that we would then export. I suspect that has something to do with the fact that Republican and Democratic presidents have gone the other way on this issue over the last 50 years.
But this chapter is nonetheless now open…and we’ll see where things go from here.
If you’d like to learn more, I have included an article from The Island Packet that tells a little bit more about what will now unfold.