South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, and Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan today all spoke out in support of legislation which will open the South Carolina coast to oil and gas drilling.
"South Carolina is leading the way toward energy independence," said Graham, who is introducing the legislation in the United States Senate. "By authorizing offshore leasing for oil and gas exploration, South Carolina will lead a long, overdue effort to open up American-owned energy reserves. We want to break the dependence on imports from unstable areas like the Middle East and dangerous regimes like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The more closer-to-home energy we utilize, the less we must rely on them. Additionally, this legislation will help reduce our national debt and the state of South Carolina will receive 37.5 percent of revenues generated from leasing."
"America desperately needs an all-the-above energy plan," said Duncan. "We all support a comprehensive approach to energy, but also understand that South Carolina shouldn't wait on other states to be able to create jobs here at home. I commend Senator Graham for his work on the South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act and plan to introduce a version of this legislation in the U.S. House. Utilizing our abundant natural resources is a crucial step in ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and creating thousands of jobs right here in South Carolina. This legislation will help our state continue to lead the nation in energy innovation."
"Two months ago, I introduced the EXPAND Act, which in addition to expanding nuclear power and other sources of energy, includes opening the entire Outer Continental Shelf for energy leases and permits. I specifically included the Southern Atlantic OCS to ensure that South Carolina gained access to its natural resources. We are committed to helping South Carolina lead the way towards energy independence for the United States, and create thousands of new energy jobs," Duncan said.
Under the South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act:
0 to 10 miles off the South Carolina coast would be designated a Buffer Zone and no drilling will be allowed.
10-50 miles off the South Carolina coast would be designated an Opt-In Zone. The state, with the approval of the Governor and State Legislature, could make these areas available for leasing. The Governor and State Legislature will decide the exact offshore location where the Opt-In Zone begins (10 miles off the coast, 12 miles, 15 miles, etc.) before leases are issued.
50-100 miles off the South Carolina coast will be declared Open and available for leasing.
The South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act also calls for revenue sharing from the lease sales. Under the legislation, 50 percent of the revenues will be returned to the federal government for deficit reduction, 37.5 percent will go to the State of South Carolina, and 12.5 percent will be directed to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The funding formula is consistent with current federal law governing revenue sharing from offshore drilling leases.